Belfast Telegraph

TDs seek removal of ‘undemocratic’ money message veto in the Dail

More than 50 opposition bills have been blocked, despite having majority support in the Dail chamber.

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith (left) addresses a demonstration at the site of a proposed new high rise hotel on Vicar Street in Dublin.
People Before Profit TD Brid Smith (left) addresses a demonstration at the site of a proposed new high rise hotel on Vicar Street in Dublin.

By Aine McMahon PA

More than 50 bills put forward by the Government opposition have been blocked because of the Government’s “undemocratic” veto.

Solidarity People Before Profit (SDBP) TDs have put forward a bill to unblock the veto over what is termed the “money message” that requires Government approval for a bill to proceed.

The bill would amend current Dail rules to remove the Government’s ability to block a bill on the basis of potential incidental expenses and costs.

SPBP TDs will lodge a Dail motion to unblock over 30 opposition bills currently stuck in limbo because of the governments use of the money message.

At a press conference in Dublin on Monday, Solidarity People Before Profit TDs said, while this is constitutional, some bills put forward by opposition TDs are being blocked by the Government on frivolous grounds.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said all too often, a bill receives an overwhelming majority “only to veto it on very vague, very undefined cost grounds”.

Rise TD Paul Murphy said no matter what bills Opposition party TDs put forward or how much support it gets “it does not make any difference”.

“The most blatant example is the abuse by the Government of the ’money message’ procedure, which they have used to block over 50 Bills, despite them being voted for by a majority in the Dail,” he said.

“You can put forward, motions, saying many things have passed, and it doesn’t matter because the Government just ignores it,” he said.

Mr Murphy said the Government has used its  “executive veto” to ignore the will of the majority of the Dail on issues such as the sex education bill and the climate emergency bill which had popular support.

The motion which will be debated in the Dail on Wednesday would change current standing orders that govern the progress of opposition bills.

Mr Murphy said if the bill passes, it will signal “significant democratic reform”.

“This is a change to the standing orders.

“If we pass it on Thursday, then it is changed immediately.

“It’s a significant democratic reform for the benefit of people across the country and for the benefit of future attendees and a future Dail where executive veto won’t be able to be used,” he said.

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger said the Government’s use of a money message to block SPBP’s Objective Sex Education Bill is reckless.

“There was widespread support for this Bill from student, women, youth and LGBT organisations.

“We can see now that far right and religious fundamentalists are targeting sex education reform now, because they want to hold back social progress.

“The Government, by not moving decisively, is playing into their hands.

“They must stop blocking vital sex education,” she said.

PA

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