10/23/2007

Northern Representation in the Dáil

I am pleased to see that Northern Representation in the Dáil is beginning to make some progress.

The six counties 18 MP's are to be allowed to attend committee meetings in the Oireachtas whenever they want for the first time.

One of these is the newly-formed Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Oireachtas committees are cross-party parliamentary bodies made up of Dáil and Seanad members.
They shadow various departments and deal with a range of investigations to advise the government.

Sinn Féin has made longstanding calls for speaking rights for MP's in the Dáil and Seanad.

This was backed by the all-party Oireachtas committee on the Constitution in 2002, but the process to implement this has stalled because of the lack of political will on Fianna Fáil's behalf.

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has welcomed the establishment of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and has noted his party's intention to build on this initial step towards 32 county representation in the Oireachtas.

"We have called for representation in the Dáil for citizens in the Six Counties. We maintain this call and we do not see the new Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement as a substitute for Six-County representation in the Dáil."

Exactly, and while this is a welcome move it is only a start, more needs to be done!

The Dublin government have a responsibility to ensure that Articles 2 and 3 of Bunreacht Na hÉireann are more than just words on a page.

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