Friday 9 December 2016

Why democracy needs a 'catcher in the rye'

In championing Donal de Roiste, the Seanad demonstrated its importance, writes John-Paul McCarthy

Published 21/03/2010 | 05:00

IN HIS wide-ranging interview in these pages last week, former minister Michael McDowell argued that Ireland's bicameral parliamentary system protects us against the more lurid populist tides that disfigure all western democracies.

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Last week's Seanad debate on the retirement of ex-Lieutenant Donal de Roiste in 1969 vividly illustrated McDowell's general argument.

While the national media largely ignored the sad plight of de Roiste, senators formed an impressive bipartisan phalanx behind de Roiste before extracting a formal review of his case from the Government, who bowed the knee to a high court judge's finding that de Roiste was denied natural justice in the course of his de facto dismissal.

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