Source: Sinn Féin
27 September, 2019 – by Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has urged the government to “speedily produce the Bill to establish an Electoral Commission”.
In the Dáil this week, the Louth TD asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy when it was his intention to publish the Bill to establish the Electoral Commission, first promised in 2006. The Minister said it would be published this term.
Teachta Adams said:
“An Electoral Commission, with powers to ensure that elections are run efficiently and with maximum citizen participation, was first promised in 2006. In the Fourth Report of the Convention on the Constitution it recommended the establishment of an Electoral Commission.
Speaking in the Dáil in December 2014 the then Minister of State Ann Phelan said that: ‘In April this year the Taoiseach advised this House of the Government’s acceptance of this recommendation which reflects a commitment in the programme for Government. The preparatory work on this task has commenced in the Department and the Government Legislation Programme provides for the publication of an electoral commission Bill in 2015.’
“In January 2015 the government published a consultation paper on the Electoral and said that the Bill was of ‘the highest priority for government.’
“Almost five years later the Electoral Commission Bill is still not on the government’s priority legislation programme.
“At the same time the Taoiseach has indicated that four by-elections will take place at the end of November, the Government has also published a Bill for a referendum for extending voting rights in presidential elections and there will be a general election as soon as Deputy Micheál Martin stops supporting the Government.
“Clearly the establishment of an Electoral Commission would be an important step in modernising an outdated system and maximising citizens’ participation.
“Successive governments have been negligent in processing this very important recommendation of the constitutional convention. It is time that the government concluded the passing of this legislation.”