Murphy Slams Governments ‘Arrogant’ and ‘Undemocratic’ Approach to the Passing of Legislation in the Oireachtas
Independent TD Catherine Murphy has criticised the Government this
afternoon for refusing to allow votes on amendments in the Dáil because
of a "Government-imposed guillotine".
She has just released this statement.
Press Releases | 20th April 2012
Deputy Catherine Murphy today harshly criticised the Government’s “arrogant” and “undemocratic” approach to the primacy of the Oireachtas in properly scrutinising and passing legislation.
The criticism came following today’s debate on an amendment put down by the Deputy in relation to the wording of the constitutional amendment to give effect to the Fiscal Compact Treaty. Unusually, the Deputy was denied the opportunity to have her amendment voted upon by the Dáil as time allocated for the committee stage debate was limited to 45 minutes (ending at 1.30pm) by a government imposed guillotine.
To add insult to injury the order of business for the day was constructed in such a way as to only allow for amendments put down by or accepted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tánaiste Éamon Gillmore, at 1.30pm. As the Tánaiste did not accept her amendment, the members of the Dáil were denied the opportunity to adjudicate over the proposed amendment in the form of a vote.
In the context of this worrying ocurrence, Deputy Murphy also highlighted the extremely frequent use of the guillotine – a limitation on the time available for debate at one or more legislative stages – as “bordering on tyrannical” and highlighted that a guillotine has been applied to all three Constitutional amendment debates held since the current government took office.
“Legislation must be allowed time to receive the proper scrutiny of all members of the Oireachtas. This supermajority Government has shown nothing but contempt for the proper democratic processes since it came to power, and has made such frequent use of the guillotine on debates that many opposition Deputies come to expect it on almost all large pieces of legislation.
“Today’s guillotine has provided one of the most alarming examples of this and I will be pressing the matter with the Government Chief Whip in my role as Whip of the Technical Group at first opportunity.”
Murphy concluded in stating “Fine Gael and Labour together achieved the largest majority in Irish history in the last election, but this is not a licence to behave so arrogantly in the pursuit of their legislative agenda.”