Fintan O’Toole on ‘Oireachtas Oversight’ Matthew Wall / September 2, 2009 Link to article Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintMorePinterestTumblrPocketRedditLinkedInLike this:Like Loading...
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Can the Oireachtas really exercise any oversight, without a complete separation between the Dáil/Legislature/Representative side and the Rialtas/Executive/Government side of how we govern ourselves?
We should be very clear that, as things are now, it lacks considerable merit to expect the Dáil/Seanad to have any appetite for overseeing government. This is simply because they are one and the same, institutionally speaking.
The majority grouping in the Dáil nominates the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach then nominates the Ministers. All but two Ministers must be members of the Dáil. If not members of the Dail, these two Ministers must be members of the Senate. (For the record, this power has been used twice since the 1937 constitution was adopted – once during hte 1950s by De Valera who appointed Sean Moylan a Minister and once during the 1980s, when Garret FitzGerald appointed James Dooge a Minister). In addition, the Constitution specifies that the Tanaiste and the Minister for Finance must also be members of the Dáil.
Under our system, asking the Dáil to oversee the Government is asking the majority grouping to divide itself or as Brendan Behan put it “The first item on the agenda is the split!”
Political life ain’t like that!!!
For an alternative way of governing ourselves, which does rely on a complete split between the Rialtas/Executive and Dáil/Legislative sides,
Click to access design-for-democracy.pdf
or for a shorter article based on the same ideas see
Implementing these ideas would give the Dáil the freedom, power and resources to act as a real oversight body on the Government.