Wednesday 24 January 2018

President 'must act on undemocratic new legislation'

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

President Mary McAleese was urged last night to refer new banking laws to the Supreme Court -- by a Fianna Fail TD who says the legislation is "undemocratic".

Fresh doubts emerged at the weekend over Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's new laws.

Rather than immediately signing the legislation, Mrs McAleese called a meeting for tomorrow of her special advisory council to decide if the banking legislation is potentially unconstitutional. The President has seven days to sign the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill 2010, which was rushed through the Dail last week, or refer it to the Supreme Court.

Mrs McAleese has called a meeting of the Council of State for tomorrow afternoon.

Fianna Fail TD Ned O'Keeffe said the legislation was undemocratic.

"It is more dramatic than the Special Powers Act. It's taking all the powers away from the courts. . . It is a threat to society," he said.

"You'd only find it in Cuba or North Korea or other left-wing countries," he added.

Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan said last week the law would empower the minister to do what he liked with the banking sector.

And Labour finance spokeswoman Joan Burton said the legislation would allow the minister to override other laws.

Mr O'Keeffe again called for Mr Lenihan to resign and said Ireland's credit rating was getting worse.

"We are only three notches above junk bond status," he said. "For God's sake, stand aside."

Irish Independent

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