In the Irish Times of 22nd November, linked here, columnist, Fintan O’Toole describes how his nation’s democracy has been trampled upon and destroyed in an article titled “Who is really making the decisions in Ireland?” Among the many disturbing facts I quote just a few:
IT IS obvious to everyone that ordinary government has ceased to function in Ireland. What has been less clear is that something even more profound has happened: our system of government has been set aside. This is not a rhetorical exaggeration, but a demonstrable truth….
We have a very weak parliamentary democracy but a very strong constitutional commitment to the power and authority of the cabinet. Article 28 defines the cabinet directly as “the government”. It then states, with the same absolute simplicity, that “the executive power of the State shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be exercised by or on the authority of the government”.
This power, moreover, must be exercised collectively: “The government shall meet and act as a collective authority. . .” The standard work on the Constitution, by John Kelly, glosses this as meaning that, in relation to the statutory functions of government, “the valid exercise of these functions must presuppose a formal consideration and decision at a government meeting.”
We now know that, in relation to three huge decisions in the course of the present crisis, this constitutional system of government has been set aside. Firstly, it is clear from RTÉ’s documentary series Crisis that the single most important decision in the history of the State, the blanket bank guarantee of September 2008, was made without “formal consideration and decision at a government meeting”…..
Thirdly, we have the revelations last week that details of the next two budgets have been communicated to the EU and other European governments before those decisions have actually been made by the cabinet. For all the obfuscation, two things are completely clear.
The above provides a flavour, but I recommend the entire article be read.
Why do we as a country, cast alongside the villains of this drama, not seem to care that a neighbouring island, with whom our history has been closely intertwined, is losing its democracy and freedoms, not merely with us standing idly by, but with our own Government apparently providing its assent?