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Thread: Responsibility, members of the Oireachtas, and the shrinking violets at Cabinet

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    Default Responsibility, members of the Oireachtas, and the shrinking violets at Cabinet

    We all live busy lives, if we are lucky, and we delegate political decision making to professional politicians. When they drop the ball where exactly does political responsibility lie?

    The staff numbers in the Dept of the Taoiseach has risen, according to reports, from 30 to 300 in recent years. That department and DoF call the shots - or at least they call the shots they are allowed to call within the framework of our EU membership obligations.

    Political power does not reside in the Dáil anymore, maybe it never did. Here is an effort to explain why:

    In the midst of the gravest crisis to afflict the State since the Civil War, our national parliament has no role to play, 141 of our 166 elected representatives have no function. They stand by, as mere onlookers, while the remaining 15 decide in secret the fate of the country.

    Most of these 15 TDs (members of the Cabinet) who do have a role were part of what we now realise was the disastrous decision to bail out all the financial institutions. A majority of these 15 were complicit in the decisions and non-decisions over the last decade that have pushed the country into this fiasco.

    These people, who on their record have proved themselves incompetent, are again the decision-makers on issues that could propel us into an even deeper crisis in a few months. And the other 141 TDs stand by and do nothing. Many of them have the capacity to prevent this but won’t (ie the Fianna Fáil TDs who are not Cabinet Ministers and the four Green TDs, plus a few Independents).


    Crisis makes plain the irrelevance of Dáil - The Irish Times - Wed, Oct 06, 2010

    Even his claim that 15 are responsible is not accepted readily. One or two of the 15 are reported to have written to their (Green) party members disclaiming responsibility.

    That if true would leave 13. One of those - grandson of De Valera - last night disclaimed responsibility. That if true would bring it down to 12.

    Why are we paying these people to take responsibility if they do not actually take responsibility?

    I must be missing something and look forward to being enlightened.

    Maybe there is scope for a thread on Responsibility and the Senior Civil Servants also.
    Last edited by He3; 6th October 2010 at 01:28 PM.
    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair.

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    Mmmmm, to my mind, 166 minus 15 is actually 151....I know our maths haven't been great lately, but.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traharter View Post
    Mmmmm, to my mind, 166 minus 15 is actually 151....I know our maths haven't been great lately, but.....
    Well spotted. VB's numbers don't always add up...
    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair.

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    The point he makes is certainly worthy of a debate but VB is the one who brings up "arithmetic credibility"....

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    He3,

    the responsibility lies with the electorate.

    We do not live in a dictatorship; we live in a democracy now matter how imperfect.

    The next time the Irish people go to vote they should think long and hard before they cast a vote for:

    a neighbour;

    a relative;

    a friend of a friend;

    someone who is "nice";

    someone who showed up at Uncle Seán's funeral;

    someone who did, or could do them a small favour.


    I'm not holding my breath. Maybe 15-20 years down the road.

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    Politics.ie Member farnaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He3 View Post
    That if true would leave 13. One of those - grandson of De Valera - last night disclaimed responsibility. That if true would bring it down to 12.
    He actually denied responsibility on behalf of the whole of FF, so we're straight to zero.

    Deflecting responsibility is the strongest political reflex in our system. The second strongest is to lie about the true depth of the crisis with the excuse that "sshhh the bond markets are listening, we have to lie". Our system is literally hollowed out, with no ethical grounding; and with no anchor is thrown all over the place by global depression, bond market whims and EU warnings.

    There is a crippling lack of honesty, strength (to take responsibility and to stand up to anyone with wealth or power), prudence (right decision-making) and justice (limiting the pain and distributing it fairly). (And let's not get started on the last cardinal virtue, temperance...)

    With no virtue we will soon have no society.

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    I see the point you make but am not sure it is right. Would you say it was the patient's fault if the doctor they consult makes a mess of treating them?

    Quote Originally Posted by antsrathcam View Post
    He3,

    the responsibility lies with the electorate.

    We do not live in a dictatorship; we live in a democracy now matter how imperfect.

    The next time the Irish people go to vote they should think long and hard before they cast a vote for:

    a neighbour;

    a relative;

    a friend of a friend;

    someone who is "nice";

    someone who showed up at Uncle Seán's funeral;

    someone who did, or could do them a small favour.


    I'm not holding my breath. Maybe 15-20 years down the road.
    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair.

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    Politics.ie Member greengoose2's Avatar
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    Junior ministers???

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    Politics.ie Member LeDroit's Avatar
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    No, no. You're missing the wonderful nature of 'collective cabinet responsibility'. It means that individuals are never responsible. The 'Cabinet' is responsible. Therefore individuals can never be sacked for what that bold Cabinet did. There's even immunity from prosecution for individuals in the Cabinet because they are powerless to stop it's terrible collective power.

    Sure, you can even reject that infernal Cabinet's decision and still sit in it. It's beautiful. I think it's one of Dev's greatest achievements in a constitution designed from tip to toe to prevent accountability.
    "A govt big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have" Thomas Jefferson

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    Politics.ie Member Monday Monday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeDroit View Post
    No, no. You're missing the wonderful nature of 'collective cabinet responsibility'. It means that individuals are never responsible. The 'Cabinet' is responsible. Therefore individuals can never be sacked for what that bold Cabinet did. There's even immunity from prosecution for individuals in the Cabinet because they are powerless to stop it's terrible collective power.

    Sure, you can even reject that infernal Cabinet's decision and still sit in it. It's beautiful. I think it's one of Dev's greatest achievements in a constitution designed from tip to toe to prevent accountability.
    The "Cabinet" referred to in the constitution and by all Fianna Fail ministers is a wooden cupbord in the Taoiseachs office used to hold glasses and a Waterford crystal decanter.


    We don't do accountability in this country.

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