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Snippet Contents:

Before proceeding to the Order of Business, I wish to bring the attention of the House to an incident which occurred during the Topical Issue debate yesterday. In the course of the debate on a matter tabled by Deputies Joan Collins, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace on the subject of the termination of motoring offences by An Garda Síochána, Deputy Joan Collins named a number of private individuals in connection with the subject matter and failed to refrain from doing so when cautioned by the Chair. I wish to advise the House that in advance of selecting the relevant matter for discussion as a Topical Issue, I specifically wrote to all of the Deputies concerned and drew their attention to the provisions of Standing Orders and long-standing rulings of the Chair on the matter of parliamentary privilege and defamatory utterances, including invasions of privacy as regards persons outside the House who are defenceless against comments made by Members under privilege. Deputy Joan Collins was also cautioned by the Chair at the time of her remarks in the House yesterday. In view of these events, particularly the prior notice given to the Deputies involved advising them of the need to exercise care in this matter, I regard Deputy Joan Collins's references to persons outside the House as a serious breach of privilege. I am, therefore, referring the matter to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges for its consideration.