By Gavin Barrett (UCD School of Law) 30 September
Oireachtas reform is a hot topic at present. Many cite the need for the Oireachtas to do its European Union-related work better as an objective justifying retaining the Seanad. Others claim the Dáil alone can do such work and more besides.
It seems worthwhile asking, therefore: just how well is the Oireachtas doing its European Union-related scrutiny and legislative work at present? Continue reading
Some weeks ago Fianna Fáil published a policy paper (for discussion) on Real Political Reform. Its focus is primarily on the Dáil and how it could be reformed. While the document appears to have attracted virtually no coverage whatsoever, it certainly warrants a read. I may not agree with all the proposals in this document, but there are some very interesting ones, for instance relating to: the need to elect the Ceann Comhairle, steps to free the Oireachtas from ‘complete’ government control, a new Oireachtas Office of Polity and Economic Oversight to provide expert support for TDs, more time for Continue reading
Below I’ve pasted the announcement by the government for Dáil reform. One thing to note I suppose is that it is the government that does this and not the Dáil itself making its own rules. On the reforms themselves, the phrase ‘a day late and a dollar short’ comes to mind.
Dáil Reform Note
The Programme for Government outlined an ambitious agenda for Dáil Reform to be introduced in a phased process over the lifetime of this Government.
The first phase of Dáil Reforms introduced in the summer of 2011 included: Continue reading
The current calls for some form of inquiry into the economic collapse and the government’s response to it are understandable in the light of the Anglo tapes. While they probably didn’t reveal much that we hadn’t already suspected, their tone was abhorrent to most. What is not reasonable is that we concentrate our blame on the banks for the debacle. They were probably doing what any interest group does when looking for government assistance – they bluff. Continue reading
As set out in a previous post on this Forum (see here), Dáil reform is long overdue: this government’s efforts (to date and promised) are piecemeal, insufficient and in some instances completely – and arguably deliberately – miss the point (the most prominent example being Seanad abolition).
So what reforms should they implement? This post sets out some preliminary ideas in the hope of stimulating others. It’s prompted by an op ed in today’s Irish Times in which Conor Brady proposes ‘Ten Reforms’ that should be introduced ‘to make the Oireachtas more effective, more accountable and better respected by the people it serves’. Continue reading
Posted by David Farrell (March 8, 2012)
The government’s (presumably first) annual report 2012 includes a chapter on political reform, helpfully listing the achievements to date. At first blush, if we take the list purely at face value, it does look impressive enough: Continue reading
Today’s Sunday Independent is interesting for what appears to have been an in depth interview given by Joan Burton. The interviews is here and the analysis here. Continue reading
Stephen Collins writing in last Saturday’s Irish Times he argues that one of the big commitments made by the Coalition during the February election and again after it took office was that it would reform the political system. He adds that while there have been some welcome changes to date, they represent a tinkering at the edges rather than fundamental reform. Continue reading
Eoin O’Malley 24 October
The referendum on the 30th amendment – the inquiries referendum – is on the face of it something most people would want to support. It seeks to empower the Oireachtas to hold inquiries which should strengthen the government oversight function. Specifically it seeks to overturn (or render void) the decision in Maguire v. Ireland (the Abbeylara Judgement) which among other things:
“as there was no provision in the Constitution which expressly authorised the Oireachtas to conduct inquiries of the nature which had been undertaken by the Abbeylara sub-committee, any such power must be inherent or implied. Continue reading
Post by David Farrell (September 13, 2011)
The Irish Times reports today (here) that the proposed constitutional amendment to reverse Abberylara — a move that was promised in the Programme for Government — was published yesterday. This will give Oireachtas committees the sort of scrutiny powers that are common in other democracies. The referendum on this will be held on October 27, the same day as the Presidential election. As the Irish Examiner reports (here), in presenting the amendment to the Dail, Minister Howlin said that, if passed, this would open the way for a parliamentary investigation of the banking crisis.