13 May 2010 Edition
Sinn Féin by-election motion pushes Government to tied vote
Calling for the by-election, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Almost a year has passed since Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher MEP resigned his Dáil seat and there is no indication that the Fianna Fáil/Green Government intends to restore full representation to the people of Donegal South West.
“The Government’s refusal to hold the by-election is politically not surprising given the disastrous nature and massive unpopularity of this Government but it is democratically unacceptable.
“Sinn Féin last moved the writ for this by-election in July of last year. In the period since the seat has been vacant unemployment in Donegal has increased from 19,895 to 21,075 - an increase of 3,180 people. 4,697 young people in Donegal under the age of 25 are out of work. 336 jobs have been lost in the local authority alone since July 2008. The fishing sector is on its knees. There has been a 30% decline in overseas visitors since 1999.
Commenting on the tied vote in the Dáil, Ó Caoláin said that the Government relied on the casting vote of the Ceann Comhairle to save their political skins.
“This Government has had to rely on the Ceann Comhairle to block the right of the people of Donegal South-West to full Dáil representation and to prevent a by-election. After a 76-76 vote tie on the Sinn Féin motion they relied on the casting vote of the Ceann Comhairle to save their political skins.
“This Government is shameless in its attitude and shameful in its actions. It is politically bankrupt and its mandate is exhausted. It should do the decent thing and resign.”