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Government’s political reform puts cart before horse – Cullinane

9 January, 2012

The Government is putting the cart before the horse with regard to political reform according to Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the issue Senator David Cullinane.

Senator Cullinane said that the government is only interested in removing representation, and has not examined ways to compensate for a reduction in the number of TDs, such as increasing the powers of local authorities.

Speaking after making a submission to the constituency commission, the Waterford Senator said it was frustrating that the government had allowed the commission such little room for manoeuvre in its deliberations.

Senator Cullinane:

“For the commission to be able to function properly and effectively, it needs a good deal of scope. This is not something the government has given it. It is effectively obliged to reduce the amount of TDs and constituencies must have no more than five seats.

“Reducing the number of TD’s by seven or eight is a cosmetic exercise, to give the impression that the government has taken action, and is serious about political reform.

“Its efforts are to political reform what butchery is to surgery. It wishes to abolish one of the houses of the Oireachtas, it wishes to amalgamate local authorities, and it is reducing the amount of TDs. This will reduce oversight, scrutiny and accountability, and yet we have seen no efforts in terms of political reform to compensate for that loss.

“Since the Government was elected, we have seen little by way of new, or constructive proposals, such as perhaps, the extension of the franchise to the diaspora and northern citizens, or even a reform of the shambolic electoral register.

“The Constituency Commission should, where possible, make use of five and ideally seat constituencies.

“Our system of proportional representation is frustrated by smaller constituencies, such as three seaters. Larger constituencies are the best way of ensuring the minority view in a constituency is given a voice, and that the Dáil represents the views of the people proportionately.

“While I appreciate that the commission is restricted in this regard, I would call upon them to make use of five seat constituencies where possible, and I would call on the Government to withdraw the restriction on constituencies with more than five seats.” ENDS

Email Senator Cullinane at [email protected] to request a copy of his submission to the Constituency Commission.

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