Aristides, when ostracised from Athens wrote his own name on an "ostraka" or pottery shard
Two Fianna Fáil TDs ( “Soldiers of Destiny” Irish parliamentarian representatives.) pulled a voting “stroke” on Thursday 17th October last when one stepped out of the chamber to take a phonecall and his colleague stepped in to cast (along with his own) six of the next scheduled voting calls of his departed friend. Both should be ostracised from Dáil Éireann, thereby giving full expression to the etymological origins and voting intent of that word.
The duplicity exhibited by the two TDs in addition, however, casts a naked light on the democratic deficit that also exists in the oversight of other and allied procedures of the Oireachtas. In particular the shoddy attention that is given to the formal incorporation into our lives of numerous Statutory Instruments, many of which are propagated by the devolved ministerial power of Henry VIII clauses in primary legislation but also by the devolved powers of secondary legislative bodies such as the Irish Medical Council. These Statutory Instruments, those that must be laid (published) before the Oireachtas, are only debated, if such a rare decision to do so is made, during Private Members’ time and thus in practice are generally ignored by TDs, especially those leaving the chamber to take phone calls, give radio interviews or engaging in swapping seats. The great democratic reassurance offered is that all Statutory Instruments may be challenged in our Courts, a challenge of course that will be subject to enormous legal costs and the regulations imposed by more Statutory Instruments such as those issued by the Superior Courts Rules Committee, another devolved legislative body.
A "recently departed... to take a phone call" ghost of
The circumvention of our oversight procedures is not just to be found in the irresponsible behaviour of two TDs but is symptomatic of a disease of deceit eroding our democratic process.
We need to rewrite the rules.