Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has joined the list of Fine Gael Ministers breaking election promises with the news that ’20 fewer TDs’ pledge is being abandoned, according to Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins.
 
Deputy Collins has said that the Electoral Amendment Bill, published by the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan today, falls far short of the radical reform promised by Fine Gael during the general election campaign.
 
 “Today’s announcement shows just how little substance there is to the Government’s plans for Dail Reform.  It is clear that the Fine Gael pledge to cut the number of TDs by 20 was simply an election gimmick,” said Deputy Collins.  “Under the Minister Hogan’s Electoral Amendment Bill, the reduction in Dáil numbers is more likely to be in single digits. The Minister will not fool the public into thinking that a cut of as little as 6 TDs amounts to radical political reform.
 
“Another striking element of today’s announcement is the confirmation that despite all the rhetoric, Fine Gael and Labour have facilitated yet another election campaign to be funded by corporate donations.  Earlier this year Fianna Fáil brought forward a Bill which would have effectively outlawed corporate donations for the presidential election campaign.  The Government parties voted the Bill down on the basis that they would have an effective ban in place by July.  The absence of any such provision in today’s Bill confirms the cynicism of this promise.
 
“The final pillar of the Fine Gael/Labour Government’s reform plans which was to increase the number of Dáil sitting days has already proven a sham. They promised to “increase” Dáil sittings to 35 weeks a year, even though the Dail has in fact sat for 35 weeks throughout 2008/2009 and 2009/2010.
 
“The pattern of a Government over-spinning and under-delivering is now becoming well established,” concluded Deputy Collins.