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Government scrambling for position on political reform ahead of election - Sinn Féin

6 January, 2016 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Dáil Whip Aengus O'Snodaigh TD has strongly criticised outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny for his failure to deliver any real programme of political reform during the course of this Dáil term.

Commenting on the reforms announced yesterday Deputy Ó Snodaigh said while they are welcome they do not go far enough and only amount to a scrambling for position by the government ahead of the election.

He said;

”For the past five years the Fine Gael and Labour government has been very weak in introducing real reforms aimed at restoring public trust and confidence in our broken political system - despite they're lofty promises to do so back in 2011.

“While yesterday’s announcements are welcome the Taoiseach could and should have gone further.

“We welcome the the proposal to elect the Ceann Comhairle by secret ballot, the allocation of committee chairs by the d’Hondt system and the establishment of a working group of Committee Chairs that the Taoiseach would appear before on a regular basis.

“However, Sinn Féin would go further.  We would ensure that there is no extra renumeration for the position of committee chairperson.  We would rotate the position of Leas Ceann Comhairle annually and elect the position also by secret ballot.  And we would establish a committee of party leaders to hold the Department of Taoiseach to scrutiny.

”This government established the Constitutional Convention whose remit they then stifled,  and have unfortunately ignored most of its recommendations  - despite having the wide support of both the Opposition and electorate to deliver on them during this term of office.

”Arguably the outgoing Taoiseach himself has actually compounded the difficulties of public distrust in politics through his own acts of cronyism - not least around the Seanad and his hamfisted attempt to insert his party colleague John McNulty into the Seanad.

”Again, in a cynical attempt to recover from that debacle the Taoiseach announced the establishment of the Seanad Reform Working Group, yet despite their hard work and effort he has yet again failed to deliver on their proposals during this term.

“Sinn Féin fully supports Dáil reform.  We want an end to the guillotine of legislation.  Rushed legislation equals poor legislation, and this is not good enough from a democratic institution.

"It is also our position that all political groupings, with no less than five members, must have democratic representation on the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, which is blatantly a closed shop and serves only the Government interests."

"It is cynical that both Fine Gael and Labour are now scrambling in an attempt to recover any credibility on the issue of political reform ahead of the general election, when they had both enough time and support from the Opposition to introduce radical reforms, but failed to do so, over this Dáil term.

"It is simply too little, too late."


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