Independent presidential candidate Mary Davis has said today that she intends to vote against the
Government’s proposal to amend the Constitution to give the Oireachtas special powers of investigation.
"Having considered the question in relation to Oireachtas inquiries that is being put before the people this week I have taken the decision to vote against this proposed change to the Constitution," Ms Davis said in a statement.
“There are good reasons behind the change which is being proposed. However, the Constitution is the bedrock document on which our fundamental rights are predicated and our Republic is based and I have real concerns that this change – if approved – will undermine and dilute the rights of every citizen of this State," she said.
"I fully appreciate that if elected President I will not be able to express any public opinion on any future Constitutional referendum put to the people.
"However, as it would suit the political system for this change to be waved through with a minimum of discussion, and given my concerns at the impact of this proposed change on all citizens, I feel that it is appropriate – and important – to voice my concerns openly.”
The proposed 30th amendment to the Constitution is one of two referendums on the ballot paper on Thursday as voters go to the polls for the presidential election.
One refers to the power to change the pay of sitting judges, while the other will give the Oireachtas the ability to conduct inquiries into matters of public inquiries.
Davis' comments come as opposition to the 30th amendment grows, the latest being a letter
signed by eight former Attorneys General which says that that extending the powers of the Oireachtas in this manner will hit civil liberties.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties as well as a number of sitting and former Oireachtas members have also voiced their opposition to the move.
“It is up to each voter to decide for themselves how they will vote," Ms Davis added.
"I would urge all voters to examine this question carefully, to consider both the positive and negative aspects that arise, and to make an informed decision in relation to this matter on October 27."
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar accused lawyers opposed to the constitutional amendments of trying to protect their incomes.
"I think the former Attorney Generals (sic) have a right to give their view," he said.
"I don’t agree with it, they’re against both referendums, they want to keep judges’ pay up and they want to keep the Oireachtas out of investigations, it sounds to me like a bunch of lawyers looking to protect their incomes. "