Reforms will make Dáil more efficient and give the public and Opposition greater role in law making – DEERING.

12th September, 2013

 

Carlow Fine Gael TD, Pat Deering, has said that the new package of political reform measures announced by the Government will make the Dáil much more efficient, while giving the Opposition and the public a greater role in law making.

“These reforms will make our parliament more efficient and more transparent, and should have a major impact on how laws are formulated. A key part of the process will be overhauling the Committee system which will allow for extensive engagement with the public and external experts when legislation is being drafted.

“These are radical reforms which will transform the way we draft legislation. We will move from a system where legislation comes to the Dáil as a done deal, to a system where Committees and the public will have a role in shaping the legislation from the very start of the process. The Committees will also be made more independent, as the Committee Chairs will be distributed proportionately between the Opposition and the Government.

“Dáil sitting hours will be increased, to allow extra time for debates, and Friday sittings will now take place every second week. This is on top of the increase in sitting hours already implemented by this Government. Backbench and Opposition TDs will also be given greater access to Ministers, to hold them to account and raise issues of concern.

“The Dáil will be given extra time to scrutinise EU matters and the Budgetary process will be made more transparent and accessible. The Department of Finance and the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council will provide a briefing to the Finance Committee before the Budget and, for the first time, Dáil Committees will scrutinise Budget proposals before any money is spent.

“This package of Dáil reforms represents a major change in how we run our parliament and draft our laws. Most of the changes will be implemented as soon as the Dáil resumes in the coming week. Other changes will follow should the Irish public choose to vote Yes to abolish the Seanad on October 4th. By moving to a single chamber parliament, we can reduce duplication and do our work much more efficiently, at a reduced cost. The reform of the Committee system will allow for much greater oversight of legislation and Government policy, and it will give the public and outside experts much greater input.

“By abolishing the Seanad and moving to a single chamber parliament, we will bring ourselves into line with every other country of our size in Europe. Through this package of Dáil reforms, we can ensure our parliament and our politicians are working harder, and more effectively, at a reduced cost. If you agree, then I urge you to vote Yes on October 4th.”