Labour TD Michael McNamara, left, with Labour Senator Ivana Bacik and former Labour leader Eamon Gilmore
In Village magazine, Michael McNamara, a Labour TD, writes:
“When Irish Water was established, it was deliberately placed outside the parliamentary questions process by two parties in government, including my own, that had spent years criticising the fact that the provision of vital health services was not susceptible to parliamentary questions.
The minister who took the Irish Water legislation through all stages of the Dáil in one afternoon – despite a clear commitment in the programme for government that there would be two weeks between all stages – has had a change of mind since he lost ministerial office.
What is it about the advice of civil servants that is so enchanting that their commitment to keeping information from the public they serve is always followed by their political “masters” who subsequently go into opposition and complain that they cannot get information from government on behalf of their constituents?
One of the first things this Government did after extending the Freedom of Information system was to close it down again when it came to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal – one of the shadiest areas of our justice system and it did so by ramming a motion through the Dáil with a limited debate on the last sitting day before a break.
Yes, this government brought the economy back from the edge which was one of its main tasks. But it failed to address the underlying problems and causes of what went so badly wrong. This government could have tackled corporate culture here, changed how this country is governed and how those who provide public services are held accountable to the public.
Instead, it spent too long just revelling in being in government. To date, it has comprehensively failed to carry out the task it set itself and for which it received a mandate – to reform how the business of government is done.”
Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland