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Constitutional Convention endorses amendment to allow alternative financial proposals – Ó Snodaigh

2 February, 2014 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin delegates to the Constitutional Convention have welcomed its vote in favour of amending the 1937 Constitution to end the prohibition on opposition parties proposing policy alternatives with financial implications.

Speaking from Malahide today, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said:

“The constitutional restriction on making proposals with financial implications is fundamentally undemocratic and contrary to the public interest.  It severely limits the ability of elected representatives outside the Government to propose concrete constructive alternatives. In many cases, it effectively prevents debate on ideas that are different to Government plans. Yet as we have seen with the actions of two successive coalitions throughout the financial crisis, Government does not always get it right.”

The Sinn Féin delegation, which included Senator Kathryn Reilly and Caitríona Ruane MLA, also proposed the establishment of a second Convention with a mandate to consider issues related to the strengthening of constitutional protection of human rights and outstanding political and institutional reform issues.

Ó Snodaigh continued;

“This convention has worked hard, it has worked well and it has delivered on its mandate to date.  This experiment has been a success.  But there is still a huge range of other important proposals for constitutional amendment that remain outstanding. A fresh mandate is therefore warranted, to enable the convention to do the comprehensive constitutional reform work that both Government coalition partners promised during the last election.

“In particular, the convention should be empowered to consider fundamental rights amendments.  Rights are now more relevant to citizens than ever.  They must be entrenched in a way that allows people to better use the constitution as a tool to hold Government to account for its actions and inactions, and to defend themselves against bad public decisions and their effects.

“A fresh convention should also consider Seanad reform as a matter of priority.  This is one of a number of long outstanding institutional reform issues that were beyond the limited mandate of the first convention.  As far as I am concerned, the people have mandated this by way of the referendum result.”


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