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Bill to End “Ministers with no Mandate” Makes Second Stage in the Dail Tomorrow

The Aontú Bill that seeks to end the ability of Ministers who lose their Dáil seat to remain in office indefinitely will reach second stage this week in the Dáil. Aontú is calling on all political parties to support the legislation and to address the fundamental, democratic deficit in our democracy. Aontú Leader an Teachta Tóibín stated;

“The Ministers and Ministers of State Bill 2020 comes on the back of the incredibly long negotiations required to form a Government at the start of this year. There were more than 140 days of negotiations before a Government was formed. This period of 140 days represented a democratic deficit and a democratic crisis. We had a Taoiseach with no mandate, a Cabinet in which many of the Ministers were unelected, newly elected Deputies who were unable to scrutinise those Ministers, and a Dáil that was unable to legislate. There was a significant crisis within the political system at a time we needed to be able to function properly to deal with the crisis that was at hand.”

“Ministers such as the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Senator Regina Doherty, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, were making decisions worth billions of euro with no mandate. There was also a cost to the Exchequer. It was estimated that these Ministers cost the Exchequer an extra €40,000 annually. Many saw an increase in their pensions because their terms as Ministers were extended. To say that there was significant anger among the general public over this at the time is an understatement.”

“The difficulty in replacing Ministers in such a short window of time can of course be appreciated, however, there must be a red line as to what is democratically acceptable. This is a very simple Bill. It simply puts the onus on the Dáil to select new Ministers and appoint them six weeks after the election. There has to be a period after which it is recognised that the new Dáil has the democratic mandate and the requisite skills and experience to replace the sitting Ministers. It provides that any Minister without a mandate does not have a right to remain as a Minister any longer. In the case of Junior Ministers this Bill compels the Taoiseach to replace them also after 6 weeks. No Dáil vote is necessary for the confirmation of the new replacement junior Ministers. I believe, in practice, that this 6 week timescale will help focus the minds of political parties in future to seek to ensure that government formation negotiations do not meander on indefinitely in a time of crisis. That is why we, in Aontú, hope that the non-partisan measure will receive cross-party support to help improve and protect our democracy.”

By Aontú Press | 9 September, 2020

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The Irish political system is radically broken

In Ireland the vast majority of elected representatives put a finger in the air to check which way the political wind is blowing. They have one eye on their leaders – seeking brownie points – and another eye keeping their seat safe. If elected reps shut up and do as they’re told, they are promoted; if they stand up for what they believe in, they are demoted. No wonder we have the political class we have. No wonder one point one billion euro is being buried in a hole under the National Children’s Hospital and that Stormont is in stalemate.

Throughout Ireland, many people are now afraid to say what they feel, many are afraid to respectfully engage on a range of different topics. Many feel there is a new censorship and a new political correctness in Ireland, that opposition to the establishment is being deleted.

Respectful opposition is not the enemy. Respectful opposition is a critical element of a functional democracy. Aontú will have the backbone to stand up, without fear, for you.