Martina Devlin: Time for TDs to act in national interest
Having waited what feels like aeons for an election, we can now expect two this year. Finally, we are being snowed under with opportunities to exercise our mandate -- although no thanks to Fianna Failed, which at times has run Ireland along near-totalitarian lines, using the economic crisis as an excuse to stifle debate.
A General Election will be held in late March and a presidential election in the autumn. By rights, three by-elections should also be called before March, but realistically they will be subsumed into the General Election.
However, legislation to ensure the writ is moved for future by-elections within a brief, specified period after seats fall vacant should be a priority of the new Dail. Democracy is too important to leave to the cynical manoeuvres of any serving Taoiseach, and Brian Cowen's failure to uphold democracy -- indeed, his attempts to thwart it -- in four constituencies are blots on his reputation. But who needs me to criticise him with Bertie Ahern out there taking potshots?