Why it all has to change

28th January, 2010

Seanad Change

Fine Gael has made it clear that we plan to reform the entire political system if elected to Government. A few things have happened to me recently that make clear the dire need to do this. I’ve long felt that there is a huge disconnect between the political system and the people it represents. As an Oireachtas member I’m now clearer that this is despite the very best efforts of many inside the system. Despite this it’s in the best interest of those in Government to slowly erode the institutions inside which they exist.

Firstly, the awful experience of participating in a debate in the Seanad on Tuesday evening watching the Government glibly defend the need for the banking inquiry to be held in private and assert that the Oireachtas did not have the expertise to do such work.

Secondly, dealing with some policy and constituency work in the last week and looking at the poor quality of response to Parliamentary Questions and Seanad debates.

Thirdly, repeated attempts to freshen up the Seanad. Nothing happens. Then the House is adjourned for a lot of yesterday. And, of course, everyone goes bonkers when Fine Gael says that isn’t good enough and makes our statement on the need for a referendum.

Of course there is an irony. If we are elected to the institutions of Government, for the first time in 20 years, we are stating that we will remove some power from the very office (of state, not physical!) that we’ve just entered. But, as someone once said (can’t remember who!) – if not now, when?