“What is happening here is disgraceful and an affront to the democratic process. Sinn Fein and other parties submitted amendments to the Local Government Reform Bill and Fine Gael with the support of Labour have ruled them all out of order.
“In other words, there will be no debate on this hugely important Bill as it passes through its final stages in the Seanad.
“The Bill will seriously limit the power of local government and have a particularly negative impact on community development committees and NGO’s, especially those that represent already marginalised groups such as Travellers, women, and disadvantaged communities.
“Sinn Fein submitted amendments on this and to other sections of the Bill but they were mostly ruled out of order. This means there will be limited discussion of the Government’s power grab of important sections of civil society.
“This Government got elected on the promise of accountability, reform and transparency. Their actions today tell a very different story and resemble the recent debacle around Irish Water when they also stymied debate and ridiculed those who posed important questions.
“The recent controversy over consultancy fees suggests they have not learnt their lesson and that they are willing to do whatever it takes to hide from public and democratic scrutiny.
“The government’s behaviour on this important legislation can only be described as yet another attempt to sabotage democracy.”