Saturday, February 7, 2009

Doing it their way!

The Frank Sinatra-style of running the country isn’t just one adopted by Taoiseach Brian Cowen - it seems that the rest of the Government is at it as well.

A special working group is being set up to look at possible ways of reforming the way Dail business is carried out - a review that is long overdue considering that of the three days the Dail sits, two are in effect half days.

While politicians on all side of the house are keen on the idea of Dail reform, some are feeling that they are being left out in the cold in the process.

One such is Labour’s Emmet Stagg who is concerned that the review group is made up only of the Fianna Fail and Green Whips - the powers that be seem to have forgotten that there are other parties in the political wasteground that is Ireland.

“I’m very surprised at the Government move given that a cross-party committee had been considering a number of changes to Dail procedures and had achieved a significant degree of consensus, taking on board suggestions by all parties, including Fianna Fail,” he said.

“In find it ominous that this is now apparently all to be set aside in favour of a partisan approach by the Government.”

And it seems that the Government might be planning on suiting itself in the matter, much to the disquiet to the good Deputy Stagg.

“I am particularly concerned that the Government may be planning to target Leaders’ Questions with a view to restricting the ability of opposition leaders to question the Taoiseach on matters of current interest.

“I accept that there are many areas of Dail procedure that are outdated and ill-suited to the needs of a modern democracy and that TDs on all sides of the House find them unsatisfactory and frustrating.”

“We accept that any reforms have to involve a degree of ‘give and take’ and that there cannot be changes that give an advantage only to the opposition or only to the Government,” he said.

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