Fianna Fail are up to their old tricks. Recent revelations that the Fianna Fail TD, Timmy Dooley, was voting in the Dail when he was not present illustrate the party’s approach.
But there is an even bigger scandal which the mainstream media are not reporting on – namely the ’money message’ which is being used to sabotage democracy.
The election of left-wing TDs from Solidarity-People Before Profit has brought a range of issues to the Dail. Sometimes, Fianna Fail vote for these – in order to pretend that they have some sympathy with the working class or progressive causes.
But then in a cynical manouevre, they then co-operate with Fine Gel to ensure that these proposals are blocked. The excuse is the ‘money message’.
The ‘money message’ has been used to block up to 55 bills including a bill to keep fossil fuels in the ground; a bill to give access to medicinal cannabis, a bill to stop evictions, a bill to give objective sex education.
Here is how it works. According to article 17.2 of the Irish constitution, “no law shall be enacted for the appropriation of revenue or other public moneys unless the purpose of the appropriation shall have been recommended to Dáil Éireann by a message from the Government signed by the Taoiseach”
This means that only the government can propose laws that involve the use of public money – the opposition cannot.
But, this ‘money message’ is being used to stop discussion on any bill which the government claims involves even trivial costs.
There is no reason why, for example, a bill that stopped fossil fuel exploration has any financial implications for the state – even though it might have some for corporations.
Nor is there any reason why ‘objective sex education’ in schools should cost the state – even if it might upset the Bishops.
The spurious use of the money message is just a device agreed between Fine Gael and the Fianna Fail Ceann Comhairle to block bills.
This is an even bigger scandal than Timmy Dooley skiving off while pretending to vote.