Alliance urges radical reforms ‘to change political culture’

Roscommon-South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten
Roscommon-South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten

Radical reforms on reducing pay and pensions for politicians, term limits for ministers, and limiting Government powers have been proposed by a group of Independent TDs and senators.

But members of the Reform Alliance would not clarify if they would set up a party or stand together at the next general election.

Members of the Alliance said they wanted to change the political culture in the parliament first.

Roscommon-South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten said the Alliance wanted to unravel the whip system to remove restrictions on how TDs and senators voted.

The Alliance’s proposals include:

-‘Performance’ related pay for politicians linked to average earnings in the private sector and changes in the economy;

- Term limits for ministers where they must step aside after one term plus two years. Two ministers should also be appointed from the Seanad;

- Reducing the power of Government where ministerial advisers are approved by Oireachtas committees and a new secretary general is hired alongside a new minister;

- No pensions for Taoisigh and ministers on top of their Oireachtas pensions;

- Removing the whip for TDs and senators voting on issues would allow them independently decide on issues without fear of being thrown out of their party;

- Committees and Oireachtas members should be allowed tease out budgets ahead of final proposals;

- To stamp out electoral fraud, voter registration should be based on the use of people’s PPS numbers.

Wicklow TD Billy Timmins said the idea of rotating ministers would allow for “fresh thinking” at Cabinet.

The Alliance said it would forward its proposals to party leaders and ministers for their consideration, but members had mixed views on their future together.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames said there was no point setting up a party unless the system was changed.

Mr Naughten ruled out setting up a party and said the Reform Alliance was always only meant to be a forum for new thoughts.

The three members also had mixed views on whether they would ever return to being parliamentary members of the Fine Gael.

Mr Timmins said he did not know how he might stand by the time the next general election was called while Sen Healy Eames ruled out a return to Fine Gael. Mr Naughten said he would run as an Independent.

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