Introduction to Petitions
The establishment of the petitions system will enable greater citizen interaction with the parliamentary system on matters of general public concern or interest. Only one signature is needed to submit a petition.
The Joint Committee on Public Petitions and the Ombudsmen
The Joint Committee on Public Petitions and the Ombudsmen (‘the Committee’) is a Parliamentary Committee consisting of TDs and Senators. It usually meets fortnightly, during its meetings the Committee considers petitions at different stages of deliberation.
This parliamentary petitions system presents an important avenue for individuals to participate in the democratic process, through the petitions process. Members of the public are able to take their policy concerns directly to the heart of Parliament and to influence the parliamentary agenda.
Consideration of Petitions by the Committee
The Committee in considering a petition may invite the petitioner to appear before it to speak on the subject matter. It may also seek oral or written evidence from the relevant Government Department, as well as other appropriate bodies or stakeholders.
The Committee, in considering a petition may also:
Following consideration of any oral and/or written evidence received, the Committee may make a decision on what further action it wishes to take. This action includes reporting to the Dáil/Seanad with recommendations, including a request that the report be debated by the Dáil/Seanad.
If the Committee considers that no further action is required the petition will be closed. The Petitioner will be notified of the Committee’s consideration of the matter and its final decision.
Admissibility of Petitions
Petitions have to be addressed to the Houses of the Oireachtas; be on a matter of general public concern or interest in relation to the legislative powers of the Houses of the Oireachtas or be an issue of public policy.
A petition is admissible if it:
Advice on admissibility can be obtained from the secretariat to the Committee whose contact details are provided at the end.
Petitioners have to demonstrate that they have already taken steps to resolve the issue raised in their petition, for example, through raising it with the Ombudsman, public bodies, or directly with the relevant Government Department.
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 and the Ombudsmen