Fine Gael TD for Cork North West, Michael Creed, has called on the Government, the Opposition and the media to engage in a proactive and visible debate on the forthcoming referendums on judge’s pay and on the powers of Oireachtas committees.
“It’s regrettable to say the least that these referendums have been so sidelined that the public are barely aware that they are taking place in less than twenty days time. Amendments to the Constitution are matters of significant national importance and deserve to be receiving as much attention and publicity as possible, so voters are in a position to make an informed decision at the ballot box.
“I am calling on the Government, the Opposition and those media commentators who have previously called for political reform to become more proactive in bringing this debate to public attention. Apathy only creates a culture of ‘if you don’t know – vote no’. The issues before the people are important and warrant a large scale public airing before polling day.
“While I acknowledge the role of the Referendum Commission in informing the public on these matters, it is a faceless entity which the public may not relate to. These referendums need personalities to come forward and show leadership on how they believe people should vote.
“These two referendums are by no means trivial. The issues that arise from the referendum on judge’s remuneration include the relationship between the Oireachtas and the judiciary and the traditional separation of powers. The referendum on Oireachtas committees grants significant powers on Oireachtas members which must be examined and considered in full before the public can decide whether they are in favour of them.
“We are currently surrounded by a media clamour pertaining to an office with a primary role of protecting our Constitution. It would only be fitting that significant changes to the same Constitution should receive some level of attention, which has been absent to this point.”