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Thread: McKenna underfire

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    Politics.ie Member ger12's Avatar
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    Default McKenna underfire

    Cloughlan, Crotty, McKenna underfire?

    I must say i'm a little annoyed listening to some commentator's/politicians today on the radio who believe that the media having to ensure that both sides of the argument have to be discussed running up to a referendum, is an unhelpful rule. The point was made that even though all sides in the Dail and the vast majority of charities were in favor of the children's referendum, it leaves the media having to give air time to extremists. This reason being why this referendum was not overwhelming accepted by the people.

    Minister Shatter's response to the Supreme Court ruling this week, where this government have been found to have blatantly breached McKennna, was arrogant and unapologetic. Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan earlier this year described the McKenna judgment as “a nonsense”.

    To have our Legislators voicing such contempt and opposition to McKenna/Coughlan and for the judgement of the highest court in the land to be given such flippant treatment by the Minister for Justice is very disturbing. Our FG/Lab Government appears to find judgements like McKenna and Crotty and Coughlan to be serious impediments to the manner in which they wish to govern. It's ironic that it was a FG/Lab administration that lead to the McKenna judgement and Ministers Howlin, Bruton, Quinn, Noonan and the Taoiseach Enda Kenny were serving Ministers in that administration.

    I supported and canvassed for the Yes side in this referendum and view judgements like McKenna, Coughlan and Crotty as enhancing debate and democracy.

    The interpretation of the Coughlan judgment (2000) is that there has to be strict balance in coverage on TV and radio for both sides of a referendum campaign (though the same restriction does not apply in the print media). Both sides of the debate have equal access to the airwaves, regardless of their respective support or of the quality of their arguments.

    The Crotty judgment (1987) requires a constitutional amendment (and, as a consequence, a referendum) if a new EU Treaty is considered to go beyond the “essential scope or objectives” of the existing EU Treaties.

    In the McKenna Judgement the Supreme Court found the then Fine Gael-Labour government was acting unconstitutionally in spending public money to support one particular outcome of a referendum.

    The McKenna Judgement found ....

    "The freedom to express opinions incorporates the corollary right that in the democratic process of free elections, public funds should not be used to fund one side of an electoral process, whether it be a referendum or a general election, to the detriment of the other side of the argument."

    "Ireland is a democratic state. The citizen is entitled under the Constitution to a democratic process. The citizen is entitled to a democracy free from governmental intercession with the process, no matter how well intentioned. No branch of the government is entitled to use taxpayers monies from the Central Fund to intercede with the democratic process either as to the voting process or as to the campaign prior to the vote"

    Important Judgments
    Last edited by ger12; 12th November 2012 at 10:03 AM.
    At 12 weeks the “clump of cells” toes curl, her mouth makes sucking movements, she has a human face and if you prod the tummy she will move in response

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    This is a government (like the previous one) that wants to consult the public as little as possible and even then, when the people speak (as they did on Lisbon) they want to ignore them. They want to create an autocracy and McKenna and Crotty (and now McCrystal) limit their power.
    Last edited by Keith-M; 11th November 2012 at 03:25 PM.
    Thank you for the six thousand likes.

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    Politics.ie Member asknoquestions's Avatar
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    It's fair enough for state controlled broadcasters to be forced to give both sides equal time but free speech should surely mean that a private media company should be free to broadcast whatever view they like about a referendum.

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    Governments just don't get it. The Constitution is the People's document which limits the powers of the executive. It is a very well written document, relatively easy to read and with only 31 amendments (with many on the same issue eg Europe, divorce, pr stv, abortion) it has stood the test of time.

    So what have the 3 amendments this government have proposed have in common?
    Allowing the legislature conduct populist inquires*, softening the cough of the judiciary with pay cuts and making it easier for the State to interfere with families ie a power grab to itself.


    (*they are desperate to rerun it and want to reduce accountability even further by abolishing the second chamber).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith-M View Post
    This is a government (like the previous one) that wants to consult the public as little as possible and even, when the people speak (as they did on Lisbon) they want to ignore them. They want to create an autocracy and McKenna and Crotty (and now McCrystal) limit their power.
    Their power is limited by the Constitution.

    McKenna and Crotty gave the Courts the opportunity to point that out.

    The general topic is already being discussed here - http://www.politics.ie/forum/justice...eferendum.html
    "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 RightCentreLeft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ger12 View Post
    I must say i'm a little annoyed listening to some commentator's/politicians today on the radio who believe that the media having to ensure that both sides of the argument have to be discussed running up to a referendum, is an unhelpful rule. The point was made than even though all sides in the Dail and the vast majority of charities were in favor of the children's referendum, it leaves the media having to give air time to extremists. This reason being why this referendum was not overwhelming accepted by the people.

    Minister Shatter's response to the Supreme Court ruling this week, where this government have been found to have blatantly breached McKennna, was arrogant and unapologetic. Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan earlier this year described the McKenna judgment, which obliges broadcasters to give equal time to both sides in referendums, as “a nonsense”.

    To have our Legislators voicing such contempt and opposition to McKenna and for the judgement of the highest court in the land to be given such flippant treatment by the Minister for Justice is very disturbing. Our FG/Lab Government appears to find judgements like McKenna and Crotty to be serious impediments to the manner in which they wish to govern.

    I supported and canvassed for the Yes side in this referendum and view judgements like McKenna and Crotty as enhancing debate and democracy.

    Important Judgments
    Excellent Post. Shatter and Fitzgerald showed utter contempt for the Judiciary today during their respective interviews on RTE Radio 1.

    It is very worrying indeed.

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    Politics.ie Member borntorum's Avatar
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    The arrogance of Shatter is reason enough not to change McKenna. Can you imagine the rubbish he would have been pumping out into the airwaves about the Oireachtas Inquiry referendum, at our expense, if he had been allowed get away with it?

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    Politics.ie Member ger12's Avatar
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    While previous FF administrations have also shown distaste for McKenna, present government appears to be aggressively attacking this judgement. Surely the media and who they source to provide the Yes and No voices should be the focus of their "concerns" and not the fundamental principle of having both sides of the argument aired?

    And I wonder if this breach of McKenna was a simple mistake by government? I believe that the last information booklet and website produced by this government relating to the EU fiscal treaty would have also been found in breach of McKenna had it been challenged.
    At 12 weeks the “clump of cells” toes curl, her mouth makes sucking movements, she has a human face and if you prod the tummy she will move in response

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith-M View Post
    This is a government (like the previous one) that wants to consult the public as little as possible and even then, when the people speak (as they did on Lisbon) they want to ignore them. They want to create an autocracy and McKenna and Crotty (and now McCrystal) limit their power.
    Cunning move to hold a referendum when they did not have to in order consult the people as little as possible.

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    Politics.ie Member borntorum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ger12 View Post
    While previous FF administrations have also shown distaste for McKenna, present government appears to be aggressively attacking this judgement. Surely the media and who they source to provide the Yes and No voices should be the focus of their "concerns" and not the fundamental principle of having both sides of the argument aired?

    And I wonder if this breach of McKenna was a simple mistake by government? I believe that the last information booklet and website produced by this government relating to the EU fiscal treaty would have also been found in breach of McKenna had it been challenged.
    This government is shockingly arrogant. Ministers like Shatter, Varadkar and Hogan are utterly intolerant of dissent. It's quite worrying.

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