Power of Recall must be introduced for Oireachtas.

5th August, 2010

The Callely expanses scandal has shown the limitation of the current laws in relation to the fitness of politicians to hold Oireachtas office and a power of recall should be introduced in Ireland through a constitutional referendum, according to Fine Gael Senator Paschal Donohoe.

“The Electoral Act of 1992 lays out the conditions under which a member of the Oireachtas can be removed from office. They include include serving a jail term, ‘unsoudness of mind’ and bankruptcy. That these conditions do not include the proper use of public money is a flaw that must be urgently amended.”

“This is in stark contrast to the current situation in the UK where 4 former members of Parliament may face trial later this year over expenses fraud.”

“Just as bubble economics must end so must bubble politics where grave wrongdoing appears not to be met with the proper sanction. The introduction of the Power of Recall would make this happen”.

“We must look at how the British political system responded to their expenses scandal to ensure that proper procedures are in place for dealing with these issues in the future. The British Government has committed, in their current term of office, to introducing a power of recall system for MPs.”

“Under this system constituents will have the ability to recall their representatives if their MPs are found guilty of wrongdoing. If 10% of a constituency sign a petition requesting the recall of their representative then a bye election is triggered. ”

“This should be introduced in Ireland. Under this new system the Members’
Interests Committee will adjucate over complaints in relation to ethics in public office. If the offence is deemed grave they could then recommend the sanction of recall against an offending member. Constituents would then have the ability to trigger his or her recall if 10% vote for dismissal.
This would then trigger a bye election within a 6 month period.”

“Within the Dail this would be triggered by voters in a constituency. For the current Seanad this would be the panel of Councillors that elected that Senator. For a Taoiseach’s nominee the voter would be one person.”

“A Power of Recall mechanism would require a constitutional referendum.
This should be done and would be the clearest possible sign that the political system is willing to take action against any member who brings it into disrepute.”

“This measure is badly needed. A politician appears to be the only person who cannot be sacked for misuse of public money. This is bringing all public representatives into disrepute. The Oireachtas should have a sanction against grave misbehaviour but the people must have the ability to trigger it”.
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