Leading for the Government in a debate on political reform in the Seanad, Fine Gael Kerry Senator and Seanad Chief Whip, Paul Coghlan, said that this Government has delivered more political reform during its three years in office than any other in the history of the State.
“This Government has embarked on the most ambitious programme of political reform since the foundation of the State. Since 2011, six referenda have been put to the people. This includes the Children’s Rights Referendum, which was much promised but never delivered under Fianna Fáil
“The Constitutional Convention has been a huge success, acting as a platform for political ideas and debate. It has brought citizens to the heart of policy formation like never before. Members of the public have also been brought much closer to the legislative process thanks to the reform of Oireachtas Committees and in particular the pre-legislative stage, which allows members of the public to have an input when laws are being drafted.
“The Government has introduced a series of Dáil reforms which mean politicians are working harder and spending more time in our national parliament. Compared to the previous Fianna Fáil government, this Government sat for an additional 74 days during its first two and a half years."
“The newly introduced system of Topical Issues provides a much better framework for TDs to raise important issues of concern, and, thanks to the new system for introducing Private Members Bills (PMBs), the number of PMBs introduced has quadrupled since 2010.
“Reform must also continue with regard to the Seanad, particularly following the result of the recent referendum. Members from all sides of the Upper House must work closely together to ensure positive reforms are implemented in the Seanad, and I am confident that the Government will continue to work hard to continue its reform of all areas of our political system.”