Promises Of Dáil Reform Must Be More Than Strategic Games – McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to guarantee permanent and meaningful reforms to the operation of Dáil business ahead of any government formation. Deputy McGrath was speaking as both major parties seek to persuade Independent TD’s that they will deliver a radical programme of such reforms in return for political support:

“I have had lengthy and detailed discussions over the course of the last week around the urgent need to prioritise Dáil reform.

It must be said however that I am not seeking reform for reforms sake but rather a radically different approach to governing that will facilitate the swift resolution of the many problems still facing us.

The existing set up is time wasting and inefficient and contributes very little to proper oversight of deeply flawed legislation.

Independent voices must not only be heard; they must also have the capacity to directly influence Dáil business in a manner unlike anything that has occurred to date.

We certainly need an Independent person as Ceann Comhairle and indeed as Leas Ceann Comhairle. That alone would remove the perception that the parties still maintain a de facto strangle hold on Dáil business.

We also need to move toward a situation where there is genuine parity of esteem among elected representatives.

To that end we ought to review again how such powerful, yet tiny groups like the Economic Management Council operate with such enormously disproportionate influence.

It reduces the role of duly elected TD’s from all parties to that of a rubber stamp.

Ultimately we need to realise that if Enda Kenny and his government had taken any of these issues seriously over the course of the last five years, we would not be in this position of clamouring for reforms that should be taken as given in any healthy democracy,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

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