Statement from Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD

Published on: 29 February 2016

“During the past five years Fianna Fáil has repeatedly argued that we must change the way that politics is done in our country.  The failure to implement any meaningful political reform remains one of the biggest broken promises of the outgoing government.

“More seriously than this is the fact that a failure to implement real reform carries with it a risk that we will continue to repeat the mistakes of the past.

“In this election Fianna Fáil has won a substantial mandate for its programme.  We secured the largest increase in first preference votes and seats of any party.  However we also acknowledge that every one of the 158 members of the new Dáil carry their own mandate which should be respected.

“We believe that the new Dáil should not represent more business as usual – that it should involve a decisive move towards a reformed politics.  This should be addressed immediately and before the process of forming a new government is proceeded with.  The next government should take up office subject to a reformed Dáil rather than leaving reform in the hands of that government.

“Our constitutional system ensures governmental continuity and the Taoiseach has already announced that he will not make appointments or enter into new legal acts before the next government is formed.

“As such, we believe that the opportunity to implement meaningful reform of the working of Dáil Éireann should be taken up now and cross-Dáil agreement on reforms reached before discussions on the make-up of the next government advance.

“In entering such discussions Fianna Fáil will advocate the reforms contained in our ‘21st Century Oireachtas’ document.  This document is based on the principle of establishing a Dáil which is more expert and independent.  The core elements of this are:

  • Major limit on ability of government to control all business on an ongoing basis.
  • Set timings for legislation except in emergencies and an end to the practice of guillotines.
  • Earlier and more comprehensive review of legislation.
  • The establishment of an independent budget review office to review and cost all proposals brought to a vote by either government or opposition.
  • The establishment of an office of Independent Legal Advisor to the Oireachtas.
  • A new regulatory oversight process

“Once groupings are finalised in the coming fortnight, nomination to a negotiating committee would be made by each Dáil group.  They would be given a fortnight to agree core principles and asked to agree in-principle changes which would be adopted by Dáil Éireann.

“Fianna Fáil has heard the electorate and its demand for fundamental change.  We are responding to that demand in a constructive and positive way.”

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