Online Petition > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Petition?

A petition is a way for you to raise an issue with your Parliament for action on a matter of general public interest or concern. The subject of the petition must relate to a matter on which the Parliament has the power to act.

Can anyone submit a Petition?

Anyone except for members of both Houses of the Oireachtas can submit a petition and just one signature is required.

How do I add my name in support of a petition?

If you want to add your name in support of a petition, it must be added at the time the petition is being submitted. There is no limit to the numbers who can support a petition. However, when a petition has been submitted, it is no longer possible to add names to it.

What can l petition the Joint Committee on Public Petitions about?

You can petition the Joint Committee on matters on which the Houses of the Oireachtas have the power to act;

A petition is admissible if it:

  • complies with Standing Orders and is in proper form;
  • is not sub-judice, i.e. does not relate to a case where court proceedings have been initiated and which is to be heard before a jury or is then being heard before a jury;
  • does not contain the name or names of individuals;
  • does not contain language which is offensive or defamatory;
  • is not the same as, or is not in substantially similar terms to, a petition brought by or on behalf of the same person, body corporate or unincorporated association during the lifetime of that Dáil/Seanad and which was closed by agreement of the Committee;
  • is not frivolous, vexatious or otherwise does not constitute an abuse of the petitions system;
  • does not require the Committee to consider an individual complaint which has been the subject of a decision by the Ombudsman, by another Ombudsman, or by a regulatory public body or a body established for the purpose of redress.

Is the process complicated?

Not at all, there is a standard form which we request all petitioners to complete. This is available at link and can be completed and submitted online, emailed or sent by post. If you do not have access to a computer the Committee Secretariat will post this form to you. The secretariat is also on hand to assist the public in completing this form and also to give advice on the type of petitions which can be accepted.

What happens next?

If a petition is admissible, the Committee shall take such action as it considers appropriate in relation to that petition, the Committee may—

  • refer the petition to any other Committee as it considers appropriate, with a request for further consideration and report back to the Committee;
  • report to the Dáil/Seanad with recommendations, including a request that the report be debated by the Dáil/Seanad;
  • request the Petitioner to attend a meeting and address the Committee in seeking further clarity/understanding on the Petition in hand;
  • refer the petition to the Ombudsman, another Ombudsman or a regulatory public body or a body established for the purpose of redress.

The Committee shall notify the petitioner of any action taken.

Closing of petitions.

The Committee may close a petition at any time.

Where the Committee closes a petition it shall notify the petitioner that the petition is closed and the reasons for closing it.

Who should l contact if l need assistance or have any queries?

Further information and advice on the petitions process to the Houses of the Oireachtas can be obtained from:

Clerk to the Joint Committee on Public Petitions
Houses of the Oireachtas
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Petitions Tel: 01-6184215
E-mail: submitapetition@oireachtas.ie