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Oireachtas reform must also look at Cabinet and Committees – Ó Caoláin

19 October, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

For immediate release 19th October 2009:

Oireachtas reform must also look at Cabinet and Committees – Ó Caoláin

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that Dáil and Seanad reform needs real action and not rhetoric. He said that the verbal commitments to reform from both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil ring hollow given their long years of dominating Irish politics and setting in place the current system.

Deputy Ó Caoláin also said any serious proposals to reform the Oireachtas must also look at the Cabinet and the Oireachtas Committees for savings.

He said:

“Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny’s proposal to abolish the Seanad can be taken with a pinch of salt. This proposal follows the launch by the same Enda Kenny last March of a Fine Gael policy on Oireachtas reform calling for the retention of a 60-member Seanad.

“It appears that Fine Gael policy at any one time is determined by the advice of Enda Kenny’s PR handlers on what would go down well on the next news bulletin. Meanwhile Fianna Fáil-led governments have shelved a whole series of reports on Oireachtas reform over the past 12 years.

“Fine Gael’s call for Oireachtas reform rings hollow and so does the alleged Fianna Fáil commitment to reform. Both of these parties have dominated Irish politics for decades, during which time they set in place the current system. They have produced numerous reports on Oireachtas reform but have done little, despite – or rather because of – their holding the vast majority of Dáil and Seanad seats between them.

“Sinn Féin would welcome a real debate on Oireachtas reform and we have our own proposals. For example Sinn Féin believes that any serious proposals to reform the Oireachtas must not only look at the role of the Dáil and the Seanad but also at the Cabinet and Oireachtas Committees and at wages across the board.

“There should be a review of the number of Junior Ministers and their wage levels, the number of Oireachtas Committees and the salary levels of Committee Chairpersons, high levels of expenses and the role and necessity of the Seanad.

“The current sparring between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael serves only to conceal the consensus that exists between these two conservative parties on vital economic issues and to obscure their actual record of failure in delivering reform.” ENDS

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