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Government has serious questions to answer

3 September, 2003

Sinn Féin Dáil Group leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the Government, and in particular Minister Noel Dempsey, have serious questions to answer in relation to last night's shock resignation of Justice Mary Laffoy.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The Cabinet is meeting today for the first time in six weeks. At their last meeting they took 60 decisions, many of which have been leaked in the intervening weeks to give the appearance of a government at work, including in recent days the proposed change of remit for the Laffoy Commission.

"It is clear that something serious has occurred to result in Justice Mary Laffoy resigning from her position on the Commission and that the government were surprised by the announcement. The government has serious questions to answer including when they took the decision to change the remit, who was consulted on this matter, their failure to properly resource the Commission's work and ultimately what occurred to result in Justice Mary Laffoy leaving her position in this manner.

"There are growing concerns about the government attitude of establishing tribunals and commissions as a panacea to serious problems which need to be addressed in our society. At this stage we need to question the route being taken, the broadening of remits which is resulting in tribunals running for years, the resources being spent and how effective this process has been in bringing to account those responsible.

"Throughout the work of the government bad planning and a lack of forward thinking is the common thread, whether it is the costs and timing of road and rail infrastructure such as the port tunnel, Luas, or the crisis in our so-called health service. Now the work and effectiveness of much needed tribunals is also victim to the bad planning quick fix mentality that pervades the work of government."ENDS

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