THE WORKERS' PARTY OF IRELAND

WP to Oppose Oireachtas Inquiry Amendment

The Workers Party has called on the electorate to reject the proposed 30th amendment to the constitution on Oireachtas Inquiries as it seriously jeopardises democratic principles, fundamental rights, and fair procedure. 

Speaking after an Ard Comhairle / National Executive meeting Workers Party research officer Padraig Mannion said it was with reluctance that this decision was reached.

“The Workers Party” he said “does not oppose the concept of an Oireachtas Inquiry. We are in favour of any system that allows the citizen to have as much information as is possible and we want to eliminate the hiding places for corruption, double-dealing, and the cosy-cartel of business and political cronyism that has brought this country to ruin. Sadly the proposed constitutional amendment does not advance that aim”.

“The Oireachtas has, since it foundation, shown itself to be politically biased and partisan in its decisions, and self-serving in its rules and procedures. Does anyone honestly believe that an Oireachtas Inquiry, dominated by Fianna Fail as the majority party of the day, would have unearthed the truth about the financial affairs of Haughey, Burke, Lawlor or Ahern? Could we expect the truth about planning corruption to be exposed by political parties who were complicit in, and beneficiaries of, that self-same corruption?”

“The Workers Party also believes that the final section of the proposed amendment (15.10.4) is so widely drafted as to be open to serious abuse and to therefore infringe on the most basic rights of fair procedure. This section allows for the Houses of the Oireachtas to “to determine, with due regard to the principles of fair procedures, the appropriate balance between the rights of persons and the public interest...”. In plain language this allows the Oireachtas to call a witness, to determine what they must answer, and also determine whether or not they can have legal or financial support during the inquiry. Even more seriously, this section allows the Oireachtas to make an individual, individuals, or organisation the subject of an inquiry; allows the Oireachtas to set the terms and scope of the inquiry; and then to decide what rights the subject of the inquiry will have during the entire process.”

“We believe” concluded Mr Mannion “that in the interests of democracy this amendment must be defeated at this time. It is deliberately rushed. It is flawed. It has not been subject to public scrutiny or debate. If it is defeated now it will allow a proper and informed debate and allow a properly worded, and democratically-proofed amendment to be brought forward in the future, perhaps in conjunction with the long promised amendment on the rights of children”.

20.10.2011

Peace, Work, Democracy and Class Politics