independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Great minds may think alike -- but not in most original way

THEY say great minds think alike. But it's not very often two minds from opposite ends of the political spectrum have the exact same thoughts at once.

Independent TD Shane Ross and Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty have been asking identical Dail questions of Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

Eyebrows were raised among Dail observers when they heard the strikingly similar questions.

They were especially surprised considering Mr Ross is widely thought to be of an economically right-wing persuasion, while Mr Doherty would be seen as hard left. But the similarities were repeated across three Dail questions to Mr Noonan on the one day last month, although Mr Ross's questions always appeared first on the question paper.

Mr Ross did not respond to queries on the issue, but it is understood some TDs are sent in proposed parliamentary questions by lobbyists, and then submit them.

Mr Doherty's office said it was "not uncommon" for the same questions to be put down, and said TDs would sometimes get briefed by the same people.

In the first query, the Dublin South TD asked: "The number of applicants in each of the last eight quarters for banking licences; the action he will take to attract new banking entrants."

Then Mr Doherty, a TD for Donegal South-West, parroted the question on "the number of applicants in each of the last eight quarters for banking licences and if he will provide in detail what he intends to do to attract new banking entrants".

But the questions became even more detailed when Mr Ross -- and then Mr Doherty -- asked about "the macro-economic stability and debt sustainability analyses, if any, that have been undertaken in which an assumption is that the promissory note is not repaid".

And for the hat-trick, the pair went even further, asking about the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook, with Mr Ross using acronyms.

Mr Ross asked the "Minister for Finance the analyses that are being undertaken in view of the IMF WEO note on multipliers to establish the short-term multiplier for government spending here".

Mr Doherty, giving it full throttle, asked "the Minister for Finance the analyses being done in the view of the International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook note on multipliers to establish the short-term multiplier for government spending here".

Irish Independent

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