Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Timmy Dooley says the refusal of local Government TDs to participate in TV debates is a dereliction of duty. Labour and Fine Gael TDs have snubbed Vincent Browne’s “The People’s Debate” and are refusing to put forward representatives to debate the issues in Clare.
Deputy Dooley commented, “I can’t believe that our local Government TDs are simply refusing to take part in a democratic debate to discuss the issues facing people in Clare. They have been elected to represent the people and are now refusing to be held accountable for the way they have squandered the mandate given to them. I believe that all TDs should take part in an open discussion about the issues facing Clare when the opportunity is given to us.
“Fianna Fáil does not consider participation in democratic debate to be an optional extra in public life – it’s critical to a healthy democracy. The decision of the Government parties to simply boycott public debates says a lot about how detached they’ve become from the public that elected them and simply isn’t sustainable.
“Hundreds of people in Clare were put through untold anxiety and distress after the Government took their medical cards from them in a “probity” exercise. Thousands of households across the county have been forced to take to the streets to vent their anger at the Government’s handling and implementation of water charges, while the health service has been lurching from one scandal to the next, with a national crisis in our Emergency Departments the latest to hit.
“Elected representatives have a duty to engage with each other and the public on issues of local and national importance. It is not good enough for them to shy away from the tough questions or for their press offices to intervene by placing a blanket ban on their participation in debates”.