Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

TD condemns 'Stalinist' regime

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin says Labour has adopted a Stalinist approach to rebel TD Colm Keaveney
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin says Labour has adopted a Stalinist approach to rebel TD Colm Keaveney

The Government has been accused of running a Stalinist regime after removing a rebel Labour TD from a string of Oireachtas committees.

Colm Keaveney lost the party whip last month after refusing to support reforms to social welfare.

The Labour chairman has been removed from the public accounts, European Union affairs and transport committees.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said Labour in particular was guilty of suppressing dissent.

He said: "I want to register my opposition to what is a Stalinist approach to the parliament here.

"Just removing anybody who articulates any dissent from any committee - it is a disgrace and it is wrong."

Sinn Fein is also punishing Meath TD Peader Toibin for failing to tow the party line over the abortion debate. It removed him from the oversight and petitions committee, which he chaired.

Mr Martin and People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said it was wrong to remove the men from their positions without a full debate. Mr Boyd Barrett said the Government move contradicted its past pledges for democratic reform.

Mr Boyd Barrett said: "If you want to see a genuinely diverse parliament, the idea that as soon as someone disagrees with the Government they are removed from their positions, does not sit well with your promises for a democratic revolution."

But public expenditure minister Brendan Howlin rejected the claims, saying it was normal for the Government to remove a TD's membership without debate.

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