Online Petition > Introduction to Petitions

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:

  • refer the petition to any other Committee with a request for further consideration and report back to the Committee;
  • refer the petition to the Ombudsman, another Ombudsman or a regulatory public body or a body established for the purpose of redress.

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:

  • relates to matters on which the Houses of the Oireachtas have the power to act;
  • 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 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.

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
Houses of the Oireachtas
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
D02 XR20
Clerk to the Committee: 01 618 3054 mob: 086 168 4346
Petitions Case Manager: 01 618 3114 mob: 086 166 0370
E-mail (general queries):
E-mail (submitting petitions):