Tóibín to introduce bill replacing unelected ministers with elected TDs

Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín will seek to introduce a Bill into the Dáil that will mean replacing unelected Ministers and Junior Ministers with elected TDs.
Tóibín to introduce bill replacing unelected ministers with elected TDs

Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín will seek to introduce a Bill into the Dáil that will mean replacing unelected Ministers and Junior Ministers with elected TDs.

A number of current caretaker ministers and ministers of state are still in their roles due to the lack of government formation, who lost their seats or did not stand in February's election, such as Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty, Minister for Transport Shane Ross, and Minister for Children Katherine Zappone.

Mr Tóibín says his bill would improve accountability of Ministers and would save the state money, by ensuring the "prompt appointment" of successors to Ministers and Ministers of State who have as a result of a general election ceased to be members of the Oireachtas.

If this Bill is passed, in future before six weeks after a general election has elapsed, the Taoiseach must with the approval of the Dáil, nominate for appointment by the President the successors in office of those Ministers who have ceased to be members of a House of the Oireachtas.

In the cases of Ministers of State the same timescale remains in place and the approval for the selection of new Ministers of State remains in hands of the Government.

“100 days after the General Election we have a Taoiseach with no Mandate, a Cabinet where some Ministers are unelected, a legislature that cannot legislate and a newly elected Dáil with very little ability to scrutinise or hold to account," Mr Toibín said.

“We understand that this legislation cannot be passed through the Oireachtas until a new Seanad has been completely formed however this Bill is not just for the present but also the future.

"Our Bill, if implemented, would in future, bring to an end unelected Ministers such as Regina Doherty, Shane Ross, Katherine Zappone and Ministers of State such as Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Michael D’Arcy, Catherine Byrne, Pat Breen and Finian McGrath remaining in office indefinitely on a Ministerial salary.

"This would give some effect to the democratic process, improve accountability of Ministers and would save the state money.

"It is estimated that the current practice of maintaining unelected Ministers is costing the state €40,000 a week.

"There is also a potential exposure to the exchequer in terms of increased pensions in the future as the terms of Ministers and the Taoiseach are undemocratically prolonged”.

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