Opposition TDs seek removal of 'money message' veto in Dáil

The Government's use of an “undemocratic veto” in Dáil Éireann has seen more than 50 Opposition bills blocked, despite having majority support in the chamber.

Opposition TDs seek removal of 'money message' veto in Dáil

The Government's use of an “undemocratic veto” in Dáil Éireann has seen more than 50 Opposition bills blocked, despite having majority support in the chamber.

An Opposition bill, proposed by Solidarity-People Before Profit, seeks to unblock that veto over the so-called 'money message' which requires Government approval for a bill to proceed.

The bill seeks to amend the current Dáil rules to remove the Government's ability to block a bill on money grounds on the basis of potential “incidental expenses and indirect cost” implications.

While the money message provision is written into the Constitution, those proposing the bill are arguing that Dáil rules go further than that and as a result, many bills are being blocked on frivilous grounds.

The constitution stops opposition members from progressing bills that would involve the appropriation of public money.

“The Dail's Standing Orders go further than what's written in the Constitution,” said researcher Conor O'Neill at a press conference in Dublin.

“So the standing orders stop opposition bills going forward where they appropriate revenue, as well as a number of incidental administrative expenses that have essentially meant this, the government have fashioned themselves and near effective veto on the capacity of the dollar to pass legislation.”

“We have seen a situation where the government or be able to see the Dail, and vote in overwhelming majority in favor of a bill, and then veto it on very very vague, very undefined cost grounds,” said TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

"The use and abuse of the money message by the government amounts to an outrageous sabotage of democracy.

“The voter gate scandal is a shocking instance of some Dáil deputies from Fianna Fáil showing utter contempt for the constitution and the integrity of the voting system.

“But the government’s flagrant abuse of the money message to block hills which have been democratically passed by a majority in the Dáil is an equally scandalous instance of the government itself showing complete contempt for the constitution and for democracy,” he said.

Also at the launch, Rise TD Paul Murphy said: ”Unfortunately, the vote gate scandal is just the latest indication of a problem with democracy in the Dáil.

"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 Dáil.

"This ’executive veto’ allows them to simply ignore the will of the majority of the Dáil on a range of issues, including the Objective Sex Education Bill, the Anti-Evictions Bill and the Climate Emergency Bill."

Mr Murphy said the bill will place pressure on Fianna Fáil to decide whether they will back the removal of the veto or not.

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