Monday 23 October 2017

They're making new laws but it's best not to look

'New politics' was on show during the rare sight of a policy debate, but it wasn't pretty

'Maybe Bismarck was right. It's best not to look.'
'Maybe Bismarck was right. It's best not to look.'

Eoin O'Malley

The great German statesman Otto von Bismarck is reported to have observed that "laws are like sausages - it is best not to see them being made". Well, last week we saw a law being made. It was 'new politics' at work; something Gerry Adams likened to his own derriere.

I don't know the state of Gerry Adams's arse, but the process of legislating the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill 2016 wasn't pretty. Mistakes were made and admitted. It revealed the convoluted way legislation gets made. Amendments can't really be read on their own, but are affected by other pieces of legislation. If you don't know what they are, you can't see the full impact of the legislation. At times the process seemed a bit haphazard, something not lost on the TDs themselves. Richard Boyd Barrett dragged himself from his sickbed - not since Cuchulainn has Ireland seen such a brave warrior - to "move our amendment to the Government's amendment No 54, our amendment No 66 and amendment No 2 to the Government's amendment No 68 in this complex group of amendments".

Maybe Bismarck was right. It's best not to look.

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