Thursday 22 February 2018

Democracy debased when crucial legislation comes a poor second to catching last train

Eamon Delaney

Eamon Delaney

If anything proved just how much our legislature is in need of serious reform, it must be the steeple-chase which characterised the Government's approach to the abortion legislation – despite the tortuous final furlong

This is among the most important legislation to come before our parliament in a generation, and yet the Oireachtas is treating it like it's Christmas Eve and everyone's got trains to catch. The debate has been crammed into one long night, and even the Taoiseach has said that we will have "rid of" the matter by today.

Granted, one can understand Mr Kenny's own frustration with the issue which has distracted the Government from dealing with our economic woes. But that is the Government's concern. The legislature is a separate structure. Or so it should be. But, of course, part of the problem here is that the Government wants, and has, a subservient legislature that it expects will simply "rubber stamp" bills that the Cabinet has sent down. And much of this legislation, incidentally, has been originated by the civil service culture with only a cursory overlook from the actual Government.

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