Adventure Activities Standards Authority Act, 2001

Power to direct an inquiry.

18.—(1) The Authority may, where it considers it necessary to do so and with the consent of the Minister, direct an inquiry to be held into any accident, incident, occurrence or situation or any other matter related to the general purposes of this Act.

(2) The following provisions shall have effect in relation to an inquiry under this section—

(a) the Authority shall appoint a competent person to hold the inquiry, and may appoint any person possessing legal or special knowledge to act as assessor to assist in the inquiry;

(b) the person or persons appointed (hereinafter referred to as “the tribunal”) shall hold the inquiry in such manner and under such conditions as the tribunal may think appropriate for enabling it to conduct the inquiry, and for enabling the tribunal to make its report;

(c) the tribunal shall have for the purposes of the inquiry all the powers of a judge of the District Court when hearing a prosecution for an offence under this Act, and all the powers of an inspector under this Act, and in addition, power—

(i) to enter and inspect any premises or place the entry or inspection whereof appears to the tribunal requisite for the said purposes;

(ii) by summons signed by the tribunal to require the attendance of all such persons as it thinks fit to call before it and examine for the said purposes, and to require answers or returns to such inquiries as it thinks fit to make;

(iii) to require the production in legible form of all records, whether kept in manual form or otherwise, books, papers and documents which it considers necessary for the said purposes;

(iv) to administer an oath and require any person examined to make and sign a declaration of the truth of the statements made by him or her in his or her examination.

(3) Persons attending as witnesses before the tribunal shall be allowed such expenses as would be allowed to witnesses attending before a court of record and, in case of dispute as to the amount to be allowed, the dispute shall be referred by the tribunal to a taxing master of the High Court who, on request signed by the tribunal, shall ascertain and certify the proper amount of the expenses.

(4) The tribunal shall make a report to the Authority stating the causes and circumstances of the subject of the inquiry and adding any observations which the tribunal thinks right to make.

(5) The Authority may cause the report of a tribunal made under this section to be made public at such time and in such manner as it thinks fit.

(6) In the case of an inquiry and report under this section, the Authority may pay to the person or persons undertaking it such fees and expenses as the Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, determine.

(7) The Authority may, to such extent as the Minister may determine, defray the other costs, if any, of such inquiry and report.

(8) The tribunal may require the fees and expenses incurred in and about an inquiry under this section (including the fees of any persons appointed to act as assessors) to be paid in whole or in part by any person summoned before it who appears to the tribunal to be, by reason of any act or default on his or her part or on the part of any servant or agent of his or hers, responsible in any degree for the subject of the inquiry but any such expenses not required to be paid shall be deemed to be part of the expenses of the Authority in the administration of this Act.

(9) The Authority shall give notice of intention to conduct an inquiry under this section by a notice published in the Iris Oifigiúil and at least one daily newspaper circulating in the State setting out the terms of reference of the inquiry.

(10) The Authority shall not have power to direct an inquiry into an accident at a place of work (within the meaning of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 ) or in Irish waters (within the meaning of the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) Act, 2000 ) save with the consent of the Minister given with the concurrence of any other Minister of the Government he or she considers appropriate.