Social Welfare Act, 1999


Miscellaneous Provisions

Inspection of premises by social welfare inspectors.

26.—(1) Section 212 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by—

(a) the substitution for subsection (3) of the following subsection:

“(3) A social welfare inspector shall, for the purposes of this Act, have power to do all or any of the following—

(a) to enter, without prior notification, at all reasonable times, any premises or place liable to inspection under this section,

(b) in such premises or place—

(i) to make such examination or enquiry,

(ii) to inspect and take copies of or extracts from any records (including in the case of information in a non-legible form a copy of or extract from such information in permanent legible form), found there, and

(iii) to remove and retain such records for such period as may be reasonable for further examination,

as may be necessary to ascertain whether the provisions of this Act are being complied with,

(c) to secure for later inspection any such records,

(d) to examine, either alone or in the presence of any other person, as he or she thinks fit in relation to any matters on which he or she may reasonably require information for the purposes of this Act, every person whom he or she finds in any such premises or place, or whom he or she has reasonable cause to believe to be or to have been an insured person, and to require every such person to be so examined and to sign a declaration of the truth of the matters in respect of which he or she is so examined, and

(e) for the purposes of answering or clarifying any questions that the social welfare inspector may have consequent on the inspection of the premises or place, to summon the occupier of the premises or place, any person who is or has been employing persons there or such person as may be designated by the occupier or employer as competent to answer or clarify any such questions, to attend at such premises or place (or at an office of the Minister), at any reasonable time specified, by notice in writing given to him or her at the premises or place or sent there to him or her by registered post.”,

(b) the substitution in subsection (6)(b) for “document” of “record”, and

(c) the insertion after subsection (14) of the following subsections:

“(15) A social welfare inspector may, where he or she considers it necessary, be accompanied by a member of the Garda Síochána when performing any power conferred on a social welfare inspector under this section.

(16) A social welfare inspector may, for the purposes of ensuring compliance with this Act if accompanied by a member of the Garda Síochána in uniform—

(a) stop any vehicle which he or she reasonably suspects is used in the course of employment or self-employment, and

(b) on production of his or her certificate of appointment, if so requested, question and make enquiries of any person in the vehicle or require such person to furnish him or her with any record relating to his or her employment or self-employment which the person has possession of in the vehicle, and examine it.”.

(2) Section 2(1) of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion after the definition of “qualifying contribution” of the following definition:

“‘record’ means any book, document or any other written or printed material in any form including any information stored, maintained or preserved by means of any mechanical or electronic device, whether or not stored, maintained or preserved in a legible form;”.