This innovative study examines the development of one of the cornerstones of Irish democracy - parliamentary accountability. It examines:
- Key moments in the development of the relationship between the major political parties and parliament.
- The influence of coalition government on the efficacy of executive oversight.
- The role of the parliamentary committee system and recent committee inquiries.
- The links between the functions of Dáil Éireann and the emergence of tribunals of inquiry during the 1990s.
- The themes common to these investigations.
In identifying new mechanisms of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary oversight, this study interrogates the ‘rules of the game’ which provide Irish governments with their agenda-setting power. Drawing on comparative analysis of other western legislatures, the author argues that Irish democracy would be better served by strengthening existing mechanisms of executive oversight, rather than expanding a potentially unworkable regulatory regime.
As the most current and comprehensive account of both the functions of Dáil Éireann and the manner in which democratic accountability is pursued in modern Ireland, this study will provide essential reading not only for undergraduates, postgraduates and lecturers in Irish politics and public administration, but also for policy-makers and legislative scholars in Ireland and elsewhere.