Fianna Fáil Whip Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl has responded to the latest attempt by Government to spin minor change in the Dáil schedule as major reform.
Deputy Ó Fearghaíl commented, “This plan, handed down by senior ministers without even minimal consultation, is yet again all about changing the schedule for Dáil business but leaves all power in the hands of ministers.
“Despite the Government’s spin about major reform, the fact is that even if these amendments are made, Ministers will still have absolute control over the Dáil’s agenda and there will still be no way of forcing ministers to answer even basic questions about their behaviour.
“After these changes:
· Alan Shatter can still refuse to explain how he avoided a breathalyser test which every citizen is obliged to give.
· James Reilly can still refuse to explain how a project in his constituency promoted by a supporter was given preference for funding.
· John Perry can still refuse to explain how he used his position as a Minister to try to get preferential treatment from a bank.
· Enda Kenny can still refuse to personally debate a referendum which will cost taxpayers €14 million and which makes over 40 changes to the constitution.
“In every possible area, the Government’s plan is to change the agenda but keep all the power.
“This reform plan is as bogus as the last one in 2011 which they claimed had empowered the Dáil and would have a ‘transformative effect’ on politics.
“The idea that their changes to the committee system will increase accountability might be more convincing if they had not removed 6 TDs from Committees because they failed to vote with the government.
“This bogus reform package once again proves that the only way to get real reform is to reject the Seanad referendum and demand a new reform programme which reduces the absolute control ministers have over every part of our political system.”