James Downey: Hold by-elections now, for democracy's sake
MARY Coughlan's favourite word is "important". She calls numerous subjects important, or very important, or hugely important. On Tuesday, in a variation on the theme, she said that the promised referendum on children's rights is "absolutely important".
This she advanced as an argument for holding the referendum on its own (when?) and continuing to ignore the three by-elections due in Donegal South West, Dublin South and Waterford. Since she was answering questions in the Dail on behalf of the Taoiseach, her comment seemed . . . well . . . important.
However, Taoiseach Brian Cowen more or less repudiated it the following day. That left us all, once again, in limbo on the questions of the referendum, the by-elections and, let's not forget, the Dublin mayoral election.