Tuesday 6 December 2016

Davis puts foot in presidential campaign with Budget claim

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

Published 14/06/2011 | 05:00

Special Olympics chief Mary Davis last night became the latest presidential hopeful to put their foot in it and damage their campaign.

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Ms Davis wrongly claimed she could prevent a tough Budget from being passed into law by refusing to sign it into law.

Displaying an acute lack of knowledge of the President's powers under the Constitution, the prospective Independent candidate said she would refer a Finance Bill to the Supreme Court if she felt it wasn't equal.

"If it's not fair, if it's not equal for people, no, I will not sign it into law. I will refer it," she said on RTE's 'The Frontline'.

In fact, the President has no powers to block the passing of a Budget. The measures in a Budget are implemented by the passing of the Finance Bill, which is an example of a so-called 'Money Bill'.

Under Article 26 of the Constitution, the President does not have the power to refer a Money Bill to the Supreme Court and it simply passes into law if she does not sign it.

The President is not allowed to refer any bills to the Supreme Court simply because it is regarded as unfair.

A Bill is referred to the Supreme Court if the President considers it to be potentially unconstitutional.

But Ms Davis's lack of a grasp of the basic role of the President will undermine her campaign.

Article 26 of the Constitution, which refers to the reference of Bills to the Supreme Court, states: "This Article app-lies to any Bill passed . . . by both Houses of the Oireachtas other than a Money Bill, or a Bill expressed to be a Bill containing a proposal to amend the Constitution, or a Bill the time for the consideration of which by Seanad Eireann shall have been abridged under Article 24 of this Constitution."

Irish Independent

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