From the Archives

Removing a TD from Office – Harder than you think…

Today the final Moriarty report was revealed. The allegations therein have caused many to speculate whether charges will be made against any of the persons involved for corruption. One of the people named in the report happens to be that of Michael Lowry who is a sitting TD for the constituency of North Tipperary. If it were to be the case that the House sought to expel a TD then it would make for both interesting political debate and throw up some interesting questions for constitutional law.
The constitution itself is silent on this point only to allow for membership to be in compliance with the law on the area.
The relevant law on this issue is to be found in Section 42 of the Electoral Act 1992 which deals with cesser of membership in the Dáil in certain circumstances. Under the section a TD may lose their seat for the following two reasons:
1. Where the member is adjudged to be a Bankrupt
This is how James Larkin lost his seat in 1928. Larkin refused to pay a court ordered settlement from a libel case and was adjudged to be a bankrupt by the court.
2. Where the member has been sent to prison for a term exceeding 6 months
Liam Lawlor did spend time in prison for contempt of court but as the term did not exceed 6 months he was not disqualified. In fact many will remember his appearance in the Dail Chamber after being conveyed to Leinster House in a Prison Van.
It has been rumoured that there is provision to remove a member by vote of house. If there is I have yet to come across the legal provision for such as move. But if there was to be such provision it would be based on very precarious grounds. It would be possible for the House to suspend the member from the chamber but the pending appeal from the Ivor Calley decision may halt a similar attempt. The Callely decision was a based on the constitutional right to fair procedures and the fact that members of the house would be casting judgement on the fate of a fellow member. If the House were to expel a member then the realm of constitutional legal theory would interact with reality thereby creating an uncertain legal situation with a high probability of a constitutional case being taken against the whole house.

From the Archives

Mad Guess at the Possible New Cabinet – Yes it is mad…

Considering the time that is in it and the fact that I do enjoy making political predictions (which in the main tend to be slightly off kilter with reality) I have decided to put together my best guess at the probable new cabinet.

Bear in mind that a programme for government must first be agreed between Fine Gael and Labour. Then in turn that this will pass muster with the Labour grassroots. I am also working on the basis that sheer statistics and mathematics will lead to five ministries for Labour with the balance of ten going to Fine Gael.

I have used the original list of ministers and minsters of state that is available on as a basis for the upcoming ministries with minor tweeks.

With regard to Junior Ministries four may be abolished so to start with the bureaucratic cull in this regard. I would imagine that the Junior Minister positions of Livelong Learning and School Transport will be split between the portfolios of Education and Transport respectively. The Junior Ministry of European Affairs could be brought into a more logical department of Foreign and European Affairs. The Junior Ministry of Public Service reform would become a full ministry in line with the New Politics Policy Document that was part of the Fine Gael Election Platform. And finally, the Junior Ministry of Fisheries and Forestry would be subsumed into the Department of Communications and Natural Resources and they seem keen on flogging the forests.  Also, if the pledge on creating a ministry for public service reform would mean that two existing ministries would need to be merged or one of these ministries being demoted to junior ministry level.

Anyway here goes… make of it what you will and feel free to have a rant on the comments section

15 Member Cabinet

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Foreign & European Affairs Ruairi Quinn
Education Eamon Gilmore
Health & Children James Reilly
Finance Michael Noonan
Social Protection Kathleen Lynch
Defence Andrew Doyle
Environment Phil Hogan
Tourism, Culture & Sport Jimmy Deenihian
Enterprise & Trade Joan Burton
Public Sector Reform Richard Bruton
Agriculture Charlie Flanagan
Justice Alan Shatter
Community Affairs Pat Rabbitte
Transport & Communications Simon Coveney


Slimmed Down Junior Ministries

Chief Whip Paul Kehoe
Natural Resources Leo Varadkar
Children & Youth Affairs Dominic Halligan
Science Sean Barrett
Trade & Commerce Alan Kelly
Disability and Mental Health Lucinda Creigton
Housing Aodhan Ó’Riordáin
Overseas Development Joanna Tuffy
OPW Frances Fitzgerald
Older Person Paudie Coffey


However with that said I would keep an eye on the following –

Martin Heydon

Terence Flanagan

David Stanton

Noel Coonan

Paschal Donohue

Brian Hayes

Peter Matthews

Willie Penrose

Jack Wall

They may crop up….