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.
Among the items which have been picked up is that the Minister admitted what many believe is obvious and said that Ireland will need a second bailout, she also took a gentle swipe at constituency colleague Leo Varadker. There are those including Veronica, who feel that such interviews and indeed other disagreements on policy are best kept to the Cabinet table.
More notably form a political reform perspective is one part of the interview which has attracted less attention which is her views on opening up the budget process. The Budget, of course, is an example of the extreme executive dominance in Ireland and of course of the Minister for Finance can even keep his own leader in the dark until the last minute on changes which dictate much government policy.
Burton has called for the information and the options (some of which found their way into the Bundenstag) to be published openly well in advance. That would be almost revolutionary from an Irish perspective. She also said that the detail should go to parliamentary committees “Each committee should take all of the option papers and look at the options wherever they came from.”
If this were to happen and the committees had power to make recommendations then this would go a long way to rebalancing the various arms of government here. After all if the Bundestag can debate out budget in advance why should not our own TDs?