This Thursday, together with the Presidential election, the citizens of Ireland (i.e. not me!) will be asked to vote for or against two referenda as well. One is to change the constitution so that the salary of judges can be economically adjusted, meaning REDUCED. And the other to allow the Dail (Irish Parliament) or the Seanad (Upper House) to “conduct an enquiry that they consider to be a matter of general public importance”.
I didn’t give much attention to the referenda, like most people, but today I checked the wording of the new article in the constitution and I am shocked.
The referendum about the judges pay is no problem. I would definitely vote YES. If all other employees of the state have to live with less money, then judges should too!
But the other referendum would give the Dail or Seanad more or less the same power as a court has. The principal of separating judiciary and executive powers in a democratic state is hugely important, but this article will severly impact that.
I believe the idea was to give the parliament the power to investigate issues that in the past were given to tribunals and that cost a huge amount of money and never produced any results, but I don’t think the tribunals were the right approach. Irish politicians like Lowry, Bertie Ahern and others who were dodgy as hell should have been in front of a court not in front of the members of parliament to explain their acts. It is NOT the role of a parliament to replace courts!
So I hope that it will be a clear NO to the second referendum! It has to be reworded to be acceptable.