Last week, it was revealed that taxpayers are still funding ministerial allowances for politicians who lost their seats in the February 9th general election, to the tune of an additional €40,000.
The list includes Transport Minister Shane Ross, Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty, and Minister for Children Katherine Zappone – all who lost their seats but are still acting as Ministers.
“100 days after the General Election we have a Taoiseach with no Mandate, a Cabinet where some Ministers are unelected, a legislature that cannot legislate and a newly elected Dáil with very little ability to scrutinise or hold to account. That this democratic deficit would be allowed to continue for so long in the teeth of a such a crisis is absolutely wrong. In no other sector of Irish society would such as dysfunctional decision-making process be allowed,” said Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín.
“However, our Bill, if implemented, would in future, bring to an end unelected Ministers such as Regina Doherty, Shane Ross, Katherine Zappone and Ministers of State such as Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Michael D’Arcy, Catherine Byrne, Pat Breen and Finian McGrath remaining in office indefinitely on a Ministerial salary. This would give some effect to the democratic process, improve accountability of Ministers and would save the state money.
It is estimated that the current practice of maintaining unelected Ministers is costing the state €40,000 a week. There is also a potential exposure to the exchequer in terms of increased pensions in the future as the terms of Ministers and the Taoiseach are undemocratically prolonged”.
“The Aontú Bill seeks to ensure the prompt appointment of successors to Ministers and Ministers of State who have as a result of a general election ceased to be members of the Oireachtas. If this Bill is passed, in future before 6 weeks after a general election has elapsed, the Taoiseach must with the approval of the Dáil, nominate for appointment by the President the successors in office of those Ministers who have ceased to be members of a House of the Oireachtas. In the cases of Ministers of State the same timescale remains in place put the approval for the selection of new Ministers of State remains in hands of the Government”.
“We understand that this legislation cannot be passed through the Oireachtas until a new Seanad has been completely formed however this Bill is not just for the present but also the future. Also, each House of the Oireachtas is individually responsible for its own work and we have a responsibility to resolve this blatant democratic deficit”.
“100 days ago the Irish people voted. The result of that democratic vote is being denied to the Irish people while the government without a mandate is making decisions which will have long-lasting ramifications for the economy and future of the Irish people. Ultimately this needs to be addressed by FF, FG and the Greens by bringing their never-ending government formation low set to a conclusion,” said Deputy Tóibín.