Photo credit: Houses of the Oireachtas

Senators accuse government of “spitting in the face of democracy”

An Irish senator has hit out harshly at the government over what he describes as “disgraceful tactics” of guillotining discussions on legislation.

The comments were made yesterday in the Seanad following remarks by Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin.

“I extend my welcome to those visitors joining us in the Visitors Gallery,” she said.

“It is always good to see people who want to see democracy in action.”

After O’Loughlin spoke, however, Independent Senator Ronan Mullen expressed his frustrations.

“It was interesting to hear Senator O’Loughlin welcoming people to the Visitors Gallery, as indeed do I, and commenting on how desirable it is that people see democracy in action,” he said.

“When this very day we have a Government using its two thirds majority in the Seanad to spit in the face of our democracy by proposing, yet again, the disgraceful use of the tactic of the guillotine to prevent the full discussion of legislation in this House.”

At this point Senator Gerard Craughwell chimed in with his agreement, saying “hear hear.”

Mullen continued that he had his colleagues had “major concerns” about “Bills as important as the Electoral Reform Bill.”

He said that he and other senators had proposed amendments which “will probably not get heard because the Government wants to ram through legislation at the end of term because it has not been doing its job properly up to now, instead of allowing legislation the time it needs to be properly discussed.”

Mullen’s comments were echoed by Labour Senator Annie Hoey.

“I concur with the statements on guillotining and cutting off debates,” she said.

“It seems to happen every year as if we did not know the summer recess was going to come and we suddenly have to hurtle through business.”

Independent Senator Frances Black also weighed in on the issue.

“I concur with the comments made about the guillotine,” said Black.

“It is shocking in our democracy and should not be allowed.”

Senator Michael McDowell said he wished to “formally protest the manner in which these three guillotines have been put before the House today.”

 

 

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