In place of the Referendum Commission

After the Nice Treaty referendum it was decided to change the terms of reference of the Referendum Commission so that it no longer gives arguments for or against the proposed amendment. Instead it sets out the rationale for the amendment and what it sets out to do. It does not engage in whether the proposal is likely to be effective in this. Because of this the Referendum Commision’s information pack is disappointing and arguably biased – if all it can do is set out the rationale for a proposal all it can really say is what the government put in the memorandum attached to the relevant bills.

Because of this restriction lawyers in UCD Law School have taken on the job – and done it very effectively (and for free). Their setting out of the arguments for the 29th and 30th referendums are here and here. They set out what the documents attempt to do here.

4 thoughts on “In place of the Referendum Commission

  1. “Reducing the remuneration of a judge undermines judicial independence”? Therefore, on this single criterion of pay our judges should be among the most independent judiciary in the world, in so far as there is a link establishing remuneration and independence. How did salaries, which now have to be paid of bailout money, get to be amongst the highest salaries in the world?

    Was it because those setting these rates wanted to aggrandize themselves from the benchmarking process. For instance, politicians can reward those involved in these “independent” bodies to quango land. if, having read their “independent” reports, they like what they see. Simple is it not? There is no such thing as an “independent body” in Ireland. In Ireland, people are only voted on to or appointed to expert bodies when their relevant political and ‘professional’ views and likely voting propensities are well know in advance.

    For instance, have we seen much judicial independence from political masters with regard to the massive NAMA gravy train for the legal profession a profession whom the judges are very cognizant of since law in Ireland is often a family affair. Likewise, the bank resolution act, which they are prepared to administer in camera without any reporters present. These two massive pieces of legislation were effectively rubber stamped by the judiciary. Can anyone explain how or why NAMA was put through the Dail as a non money bill eventhough it was dealing with over 75bn in loans and will issue bonds valued at 31.5bn. Believe me only in Ireland would you get such brazen maneuvers. Coming back to more mundane things it is estimated that we would have had 10,000 indictable crimes committed and numerous murders were it not for the judges interpretation of the bail laws. That can be read as 10,000 less victims of crime?

    Why are we having a Referendum?
    Because some judges who administer the law want to be treated differently to those to whom they administer the law.

    As regards the savings being insignificant? Is this some kind of joke or closing of ranks by the good professors and lecturers out at UCD? Try telling this to someone living on 188 Euro’s a week! or some SNA or blind person who has had their carers allowance cut? Shame on them, they should have been leading by example and taken a 40% cut in their salaries instead of having to be dragged before the court of public opinion.

  2. The guides produced by UCD Law School are very informative – lets hope they are more widely publicised.

    In relation to the 30th Ammendment, is it possible that a government would introduce new legislation which would then give the parliamentary committees of inquiry far greater powers than currently envisaged? – as suggested, I think, by Stephen Collins in today’s IT. This would seem to be a very important argument against the amendment – although the question of appeal of determinations of committees through the courts is also of course a critical issue and for me a compelling reason to vote no.

  3. Thanks for the comments, and to the site for posting it.

    We have sent copies to media organisations who have given the guides some coverage but they have limited scope to do so given the focus on the Presidential election.

    So please do feel free to pass on a link to the guides to anyone you know who may be interested or want more information about the referenda.

    If anyone has more time or interest, there are also videos available from a conference the Group organised on the event last week here:

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