Passing the Anglo Irish Legislation

25th January, 2009

The Irish Times published an article yesterday about the Fine Gael leader in the Seanad Frances Fitzgerald challenging the result of the vote on the nationalisation legislation for Anglo Irish bank. Many others have

mentioned this to me as the radio coverage of the Seanad indicated that the bill passed without a vote. So what happened?

Passing a bill like this requires two votes – a vote on the bill itself and an early signature vote (asking the President to sign the bill into law). At both of these votes senators can express either support or vote against the legislation.

The night in question saw a lot of debate on the bill. It was blindingly obvious that members of the House were going to vote against the legislation. Fine Gael has expressed concerns about the law and the manner
in which it was been rushed through the Houses.

However when it came to the vote on the bill the Cathaoirleach just did not hear the calls from the opposition for a vote on the bill. My colleague David Norris was particularly vocal! I should stress that the Cathaoirleach is a man of the utmost integrity. He is a fine chair of the House and commands my complete respect. I am absolutely positive that we called for a vote properly.

Where are we now? Given the size of the legislation and it’s national interest it should be returned to the House and passed properly. It is just crucial that these be done properly as respect for procedure is one of the cornerstones of our democratic process.