The government is being accused of using the little known ‘money message’ rule to block opposition bills which have been passed by the Dáil.
The money message is a procedural implement which requires any opposition bill which involves public expenditure to receive approval from the government.
However the current Fine Gael minority government has used it to block 50 bills which have received approval from the Dáil, effectively using it in place of a majority to block legislation.
People Before Profit have pointed out that all four bills they have put forward which have been passed by the Dáil were blocked in this way.
These bills included measures to ban the exploration of oil and gas in Irish waters, limit the powers of landlords to evict tenants, allow people in need to access medicinal cannabis, and require schools to teach objective sex education.
Earlier this month People Before Profit took a High Court Case against the Ceann Comhairle for blocking a motion to change the rules of how this provision can be used.
That case is currently due to be heard on December 17.
“At best Fine Gael might be seen as a bunch of spoiled children. The reality, however is more disturbing than this,” said Galway PBP representative Joe Loughnane.
Loughnane said that this “anti-democratic” practice is suppressing the will of elected representatives.
Aside from that case the Dáil is also in the process of considering possible changes to the money message provision.
A discussion paper was recently present to the Dáil Reform sub-committee on the history of money message, its current use by the government, and potential changes.
That paper will be debated by TDs when they return next week.
Loughnane fell short of calling for a referendum on the money message, but isn’t ruling anything out.
“The Irish legal system is not defunct. As people are aware, the constitution can only be amended by a referendum.”
“I sincerely hope this won’t be necessary in relation to the money message provision”.