Friday 9 December 2016

We need checks and balances

Published 11/03/2011 | 07:43

REORGANISING Government departments and combining some of them makes sense from organisational and efficiency points of view. However, combining the Departments of Justice and Defence under one minister is a dangerous development in a democracy.

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There are certain essential elements of protection in democracies that include the separation of powers between the executive (ie, government), the legislators (parliamentarians), and the judiciary. In addition, in Ireland the military have always been subordinated to the civil power, and can only act in support of the gardai unless martial law is declared.

Experience has shown the wisdom of keeping the justice and defence departments separate – otherwise all the security forces come under one minister, and that means all the lawful lethal force of the state.

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