Monday 25 September 2017

Irish people deserve better than a Dail paralysed by fear

We were promised a new collaborative politics after the election - what we have got is delay, dysfunction and division, writes Alan Kelly

To paraphrase Seamus Heaney, the overriding feeling in Leinster House these days is 'whatever you do, do nothing'. Photo: Maxwells
To paraphrase Seamus Heaney, the overriding feeling in Leinster House these days is 'whatever you do, do nothing'. Photo: Maxwells

Alan Kelly

New politics? If this is new politics then give me old politics any day. In fact just give me politics. To paraphrase Seamus Heaney, the overriding feeling in Leinster House these days is 'whatever you do, do nothing'. It is now five months since the General Election. TDs are elected to do a number of jobs as public representatives, but our main job is as legislators. We are elected to pass laws and ensure good governance of the country through those laws.

Since February this has not been happening. Readers may be astonished to learn that this year only four pieces of legislation have been passed and signed into law by our President, and all four were enacted prior to the General Election. To put this in context, the number of Acts passed last year totalled 66. Yet despite this legislative inertia, the Government has decided to shut down the Dail until the end of September.

No one - including me - has any problem with a summer holiday shutdown, yet surely this should have been curtailed this year given the long period during which the country was without a government. Consideration should be given to the Dail resuming earlier in September this year to resolve the legislative log jam, especially as the budgetary process will take up the majority of our time on our return.

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