Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has called on Environment Minister Phil Hogan to explain why he appears to be suppressing the Referendum Commission ‘s Report on the recent referendums and has demanded that the Report be published in full ahead of the upcoming Referendum on the Fiscal Treaty. Sections of the report have been leaked to today’s Irish Times.
He commented, “The Referendum Commission is an independent body, whose only agenda is the proper organisation of referendums in this country. When it investigates and reports on the conduct of recent referendums, the least it should expect is that its report be made available to the public for examination, and for response from the Minister. When Minister Hogan gets such a report and then proceeds to sit on it for six weeks, there will be public suspicion that a Government obsessed by spin is simply trying to avoid publishing a document that may be critical of its performance.
“It was clear to anyone who observed or participated in the recent referendums on Oireachtas Inquiries and Judges’ Pay that the Government took a rushed, high handed and dismissive attitude to the debates. Indeed, it is hard not to conclude that the Government’s arrogance on the issue of Oireachtas Inquiries was the main cause of the referendum’s defeat.
“As the country prepares for another important Referendum on Europe, the Government needs to learn from its mistake on Oireachtas Inquiries. Publishing the report of the Referendum Commission immediately and in full would reassure people that it is prepared to deal with legitimate criticism and ensure a well run and respectful referendum campaign.”