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Government failure to deliver Programme for Government Dáil reforms - McDonald

19 June, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking in the Dáil this evening Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD criticised Fianna Fáil and Labour for failing to deliver on the Dáil reforms committed to in the Programme for Government.

The Dublin Central TD said:
“Opposition TDs have raised time and again the Government’s failure to deliver on its own political reform commitments. This dissatisfaction has now extended beyond the opposition benches.

“Recently the Government Chief Whip described cabinet’s failure to attend ‘Topical Issues’ debates, a critical reform measure lauded by Government, as deplorable. It has also become a matter of course for Cabinet members outside the Economic Management Council to be found bemoaning their exclusion from critical budgetary decisions.

“Guillotining of Dáil debates is the norm and relevant Government Ministers simply feel they do not have to show up for ‘Topical Issue’ debates.

“Far from progressing a political reform agenda, the government is actually centralising decision making powers whilst setting its face against the necessary checks and balances required for a healthy democracy.

“There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Seanad is not fit for purpose, however the referendum proposition that Government intends to put to the people represents a further crude effort to centralise political decision making.  

“There are many democracies that do not have an upper house, but those same countries have strong checks and balances to ensure proper accountability, transparency and representation for all citizens.

“It is our strong view that the future existence, functioning and reform of the Seanad must be put to the Constitutional Convention in advance of the referendum.

“Sinn Féin’s amendments to the Government Seanad Referendum legislation provide citizens with a real opportunity to influence reform of our political institutions.”

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