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2 February 2015 Edition

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Whip system helps ensure electoral accountability

• Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD says party candidates don't have the luxury of being all things to all people

‘Nowhere in the world has a group of Independents, each voting by their individual conscience, run a country or even be in a position to deliver fundamental reform’

SINN FÉIN Chief Whip Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has come out powerfully in favour of the party whip system. 

He was speaking in the Dáil against an Amendment on the 34th Constitution which proposed the elimination of the whip system.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“This legislation effectively proposes a constitutional bar on the whip system. I’m sorry to say that the elimination of the whip system is not a remedy for what ails political life in this state. It is not the source of the problem – the problem is broken political and electoral promises.”

Independent TDs have been promoting their individualism and idiosyncratic political platforms as a virtue, but Aengus Ó Snodaigh pointed out the weaknesses behind the mavericks’ claims:

“Nowhere in the world has a group of Independents, each voting by their individual conscience, run a country or even be in a position to deliver fundamental reform.

“Political parties are groups of people who, by their own volition, have agreed to work together to promote a set of principles and policies. When a party candidate contests an election, they don’t have the luxury to be all things to everyone, as some Independent candidates are. They contest an election on an agreed manifesto as well as the party’s adopted policies and its history and record.

“The electorate vote for them and put their faith in them as they see fit. The manifesto is their social contract with the electorate. They place their trust in them. The whip system helps ensure electoral accountability. Eliminating the whip system will not improve the political landscape.

“What is needed are cohesive, coherent policies together with the political integrity and political will to find a way to implement them. While the current Coalition Government may not be up for this, Sinn Féin is and are we are serious about governing for change.”

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