This morning at 11.45 the Government are allowing the first stage of debate on legislation which will give a new and distinct role for the Seanad.
The law titled ‘EU Scrutiny and Transparency in Government Bill’ was drafted by Fianna Fáil Senator, Mark Daly…. It would require Government Ministers to bring all EU legislation, in draft form, before the Seanad prior to Ministers signing them into Irish Law. ‘The sheer number of EU laws being introduced without any proper oversight or scrutiny by the Dáil and Seanad is staggering’ said Senator Daly. Dr. Brian Hunt’s Oireachtas study, The Role of the Houses of the Oireachtas in the Scrutiny of Legislation, highlights the growing percentage of laws that Government Ministers introduce without any degree of scrutiny or oversight. In particular, the report highlights the prevalence of Statutory Instruments, EU Regulations and Directives among all laws implemented in Ireland. ‘If you added up all the statutory instruments, EU Regulations and Directives they can accounts for 90% of the laws that come into effect annually in Ireland.’
When the numbers are examined, they shows the scale of our national democratic deficit. In 2012 there were 53 Acts of the Oireachtas. This is compared to 590 Statutory instruments, (SI) 52 EU Directives and 1270 EU Regulations. SI and EU directives are completely controlled by and within the powers of Ministers. Most of the time they are never referred by Ministers for scrutiny or debated in the Dáil and Seanad before the Minister signs them into Law.
Senator Daly stated that Labour party whip Emmet Stagg TD is on the record as having said, “the scrutiny of statutory instruments simply does not take place at all and this suits the Government” ‘This cannot be allowed to continue’ said the Senator Daly.