Reduction in number of TDs won’t do anything for political reform – Stanley
Speaking on the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2011 in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin Environment, Community and Local Government Spokesperson Brian Stanley TD, welcomed the provision in the Bill to require by-elections within 6 months but was highly critical of other provisions contained in the Bill that did nothing to enact “meaningful reform” of the political system in Ireland.
The Laois-Offaly TD said;
“Sinn Féin takes serious issue with the proposal to cut the number of TDs from the current 166 to a figure between 152 and a 160. In the absence of a massive overhaul and strengthening of local government structures, it makes absolutely no sense to reduce the number of TDs sitting in the Dáil and won’t make any positive contribution. There are questions to be asked regarding the constitutionality of reducing the number of TDs considering the last Census result. The population of Laois alone has increased by 20% since the last Census. Offaly’s population has increased by 6,000 people.
“Reducing the number of TDs in and of itself will not make the Dáil more representative, it won’t empower TDs to act as legislators and it certainly won’t improve the scandalous under-representation of women in the Oireachtas. Further to this it won’t assist the Dáil in holding the executive to account.
“The reality is the Minister is well aware it will not do anything to reform politics. The first hundred days have passed and there government have little enough to show for it beyond a few gimmicks and a pile of u-turns but this legislation allows the minister to pose as a reformer. It is all about being seen to be doing something.”