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Government without mandate denies democracy – Ó Caoláin

29 September, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called on the Government to hold the three outstanding by-elections in Donegal South-West, Waterford and Dublin South this autumn.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“In refusing to hold these by-elections a Government without a mandate is denying democracy to the people of three constituencies and to the people of the State as a whole.

“This Fianna Fáil/Green Government has no mandate for its savage cuts to public services, no mandate for the bank bail-out and no mandate for NAMA.

“Fianna Fáil was elected on the basis of the lie that their economic policies would prolong the Celtic Tiger and that the property madness would end not in a crash but in a soft landing. The Greens were elected on the basis that they would lead the Irish people into the promised eco-friendly land of political purity. Instead they led them into bed with the corrupt and bankrupt Fianna Fáil party.

“There was much attention three weeks ago on the Taoiseach’s state of health on a particular morning. I hope it is good today. But politically, there is no doubt that he and his Government are staggering and reeling and their days are numbered.

“A few days after the now internationally famous radio interview the Taoiseach said, dismissively, that the Donegal South-West by-election would take place some time in 2011.

“My party colleague Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty quite rightly described the Taoiseach’s comment as an insult to the people of Donegal. It is now nearly sixteen months since this seat became vacant and the Government has blocked every attempt to hold a by-election.

“Senator Doherty has taken this Government to the High Court to try to ensure that they accord to the people of Donegal South West their right to full representation. The people of Dublin South and Waterford have the same right and we call for the holding of the three by-elections this autumn.

“One of the major flaws in the Constitution is that it has no provision for by-elections to be held within a reasonable time of the vacancy arising. Instead the power is in the hands of the Government of the day and can be delayed indefinitely according as the political expediency of the Government demands. It is another abuse of democratic principles that serves to increase people’s disillusion and cynicism about politics.

“These motions come before us on the day figures confirm that there are over 440,000 people are unemployed in this State. The Government can take no credit or comfort from the fact that there were 5,400 fewer people signing on in September than there were in August. That shows the success of one Government policy – its emigration policy.

“Emigration is rampant and our graduates are looking abroad for meaningful employment because this is one of the few states the few in Western Europe trying to get out of recession without an economic stimulus package.

“Emigration is nothing new to the people of County Donegal. Under landlordism and British rule, under the Free State and even under the Celtic Tiger that county suffered higher than average unemployment, Government neglect and the forced emigration of its young people.

“Waterford has suffered the loss of long-standing quality industries, including Waterford Glass, a national flagship enterprise that should never have been allowed to close.

“And Dublin South, like the rest of our capital, has a high number of young unemployed people.

“If the Government is prepared to stand over its savage cuts then let them face the people in the three by-elections this autumn.” ENDS

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