A Dáil committee investigating cost over runs on a CIÉ signalling project is to meet in private this afternoon. The committee is to draw up an interim report, although it may never complete its inquiry.

The committee, chaired by Deputy Sean Doherty, sat last year to investigate how the cost of Iarnród Éireann's mini-CTC signalling project rose from €18m to an estimated €63m.

It also examined a deal between CIÉ and Esat, which saw fibre optic phone cables being laid along railway lines. But, with just one more day's evidence to be heard, the inquiry was suspended last November, following a High Court decision about another Oireachtas inquiry, into the Abbeylara shooting.

The High Court ruled that Oireachtas committees had no inherent power to conduct an inquiry likely to lead to findings of fact or expressions of opinion adverse to a citizen's good name.

The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court, which has yet to deliver judgement, but it is doubtful that this will happen in time to allow the committee to finish its work before the general election.

Legal advice suggests that all members of the current committee would have to be present for any continuation of the inquiry, and, as Deputy Doherty is not standing, this will not happen.