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Mullen, Rónán

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Order of Business

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Senator Rónán Mullen

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I support what Senator Feargal Quinn has said about debating budget proposals. New politics must mean treating people and Parliament maturely. One of the problems with old politics during the Celtic tiger years was that there was no real scrutiny of budget proposals. In opposition, Fine Gael constantly criticised the practice of handing out budget speeches at the last minute. I remember watching Deputy Richard Bruton furiously scrambling to get his points together in response to budget announcements. That is an example of dysfunctional government. What we ought to do is to lay out clearly what the plans are. The Economic Management Council should reveal what it has already decided will be inc;uded in the budget and we should debate this. We need to hear what people have to say about it. The horrible thing is that instead of this we have kite flying. We have a situation where Ministers leak certain ideas to the media about withdrawing medical cards or cutting disability benefits so as to gauge the media's and the public's response. Recently we had kite flying in regard to cutting the old age pension. We must consider how disrespectful of people this is, particularly vulnerable persons. Imagine people wondering what bill they can postpone paying in order that they can eat or pay for their basic necessities. It is cynical in the extreme for politicians, civil servants or whoever is in government to be leaking such suggestions which cause distress, fear and anxiety. Why do they leak them? It is in order that they can gauge the reaction or carry on their own internal gamesmanship. This is the type of thing that brings politics into disrepute. It is certainly a reason I believe people are right not to trust the Government when it talks about political reform. There is no apparent sincerity to its claims that it is about political reform.