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Doherty welcomes report of the Committee on the Constitution

22 July, 2010 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has welcomed the report of the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution, in particular it’s recommendation that all by-elections be held within six months of a vacancy arising.

However, Senator Doherty hit out at the hypocrisy of the Government members of the Committee who, one the one hand are supporting early by-elections yet on the other have opposed the holding of the Donegal South West by-election in the Dáil.

He said any one of the Government TDs on the Committee could have ensured that the by-election in Donegal took place by voting with Sinn Féin to move the writ in April as the Government only defeated the motion on the strength of the Ceann Comhairle’s casting vote.

Senator Doherty said:

“I welcome this report and would hope that steps be taken to see it to implementation at an early stage.

“I particularly welcome the recommendation that all by-elections be held within six months of a vacancy arising. I feel that it is in the democratic interests of the electorate that the type of carry-on – such as that which has happened with my own constituency of Donegal South West – should not happen again.

“The report states ‘it is the view of the Committee that the principle of equality of representation may be breached if a vacancy is not filled within a reasonable time of the vacancy occurring.’ That is a very significant statement and I welcome it.

“However it reeks of stinking hypocrisy on the part of the seven Government members of the Committee particularly the five TDs who could have ensured the holding of the by-election in my constituency if they had of voted in favour of the motion which Sinn Féin put forward in April.

“Donegal South West has been without full representation for over a year. In that time unemployment in the area has sky-rocketed and public services have been cut significantly.

“It is with this in mind that I made the decision to take a legal challenge against the government’s refusal to hold the Donegal South West by-election. I should not have to do this. By refusing to hold the by-election the government are trampling all over the democratic rights of the electorate.

“It is an imperative that Donegal South West, and indeed all other constituencies that are without full representation be granted that representation in a manner that is timely. It should not be for the government of the day to pick and choose when an election suits them.

“I welcome this report and look forward to its implementation.” ENDS

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