Green Party publishes submission to sub-committee on Dáil reform
Fixed term parliament would ensure Government stability, say Greens
The Green Party today published their proposals for Dáil reform, calling for further political reform, outside of the Dáil chamber. Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan TD, has been nominated to be a member of the Dáil sub-committee on Dáil reform, which will meet next Tuesday.
Speaking today, Deputy Ryan said: “Democracy’s problems will not be solved by less democracy – they will be solved by more democracy. Trusting our Parliament with more responsibility is an important first step in the wider political reform needed. We need a change in the political culture in this country, not just a change in political processes.
“We’ve decided to build our submission around four themes: Empowering Citizens, Empowering Deputies, Empowering Equality, and Empowering Institutions. Under each of these themes, we’ve identified key objectives for reform. These range from improving the quality of Dáil debate and the work of committees to making the Dáil a more welcoming place for women and minorities.
“And what’s even more important than just making the Dáil work for TDs is that we’ve looked at how we can make it work better for everyday citizens too. We’ve included proposals to make the Oireachtas as a whole more engaging, more open and a more powerful tool for everybody.
Included in the Green Party proposal is a committee that would take unique responsibility for looking at ways to increase citizens’ access to the Oireachtas, including the ability to take part in the legislative process. The committee would prepare an annual report on citizens’ sense of engagement and satisfaction with the Oireachtas.
Green Party TD for Dublin Rathdown, Deputy Catherine Martin, said:
“It’s really important that we get this right. Otherwise, people will feel even more disillusioned with the political system than they already are. The effects of poor debate and rushed decision making in the Dáil has been felt by every community in Ireland. This is an opportunity to turn that around.”
The Green Party proposals include changes that they hope will support the formation of a minority government.
Deputy Ryan explained: “There’s been a lot of talk about the need for the formation of a stable Government. Regardless of the make-up of the Government in this Dáil we believe there is a case for the holding of a referendum to allow for the establishment of a fixed-term parliament to make any future government more stable. That would mean the date of the next general election would be set five years in advance. An early election would only be possible if 66% of TDs voted for it. Otherwise, only in intractable cases where no government could be agreed, could the President decide to call one.”
Other Green Party proposals include:
Improving the quality of ministerial answers to parliamentary questions, expanding their scope, and involving the Opposition more in oral answers.
Relaxing the whip and removing it altogether from committee work.
A Constitutional Convention to make recommendations on citizen-initiated referendums and Seanad reform.
A radical democratisation of local government and devolution of powers from the Dáil.
The Green Party proposals are available online here:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1agNQWp0P_9GECi3rTKzPyGAZb2nWXtke5JsyhApQ7Ok/edit?usp=sharing
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