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Stephen Donnelly: Nobody takes the Dáil seriously... including TDs

The independent TD says he has no regrets about quitting the banking inquiry last month.

Stephen Donnelly
Stephen Donnelly
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

INDEPENDENT TD STEPHEN Donnelly has again hit out at the government’s handling of the banking inquiry and has insisted he has no regrets about his decision to quit the Oireachtas committee.

The Wicklow deputy quit the committee set up to examine the collapse of the Irish banking system last month after the government added two extra members in order to regain a majority it had inadvertently lost.

Speaking to the TheJournal.ie at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties yesterday, Donnelly said it didn’t suit him to leave the inquiry but he felt obligated to do so to call out what he viewed as wrongdoing on the coalition’s part.

“I am willing not to be on an inquiry that I want to be on in order to try and make a stand and say: ‘You can’t do business like this,’” he said 

He also sharply criticised the way in which the Oireachtas works claiming that nobody takes it seriously.

“For me it comes down to this: Nobody takes parliament seriously including parliament itself,” he said.”So the only way we’re ever going to get parliament to be taken seriously and have a serious role is if it takes itself seriously and that requires standing up to abuses of power.”

Donnelly’s decision to quit the probe was criticised in some quarters including by the government with former minister Pat Rabbitte accusing the independent deputy of being work-shy.

“I believe that Deputy Donnelly recognised the workload that would have to be undertaken and he took the opportunity to duck-out,” Rabbitte said earlier this month.

Donnelly claimed his taking a stand resulted in the government deciding not to apply a whip on its members, though he doubted whether this will apply in reality.

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Donnelly said the banking inquiry will succeed if it demonstrates to the public “how dangerous it is to elect the wrong type of politician – the chicken and chips politicians”.

He also said it will work if it shows the public the danger of “voting in our own short-term interests” and highlights any “improper role” played by the ECB, potentially enhancing Ireland’s prospects for retroactive recapitalisation of its banks.

  • TheJournal.ie will be bringing you rolling coverage from the Glenties all this week and you can follow @oconnellhugh for updates.

‘Any money is too much’: Banking inquiry will be ‘cost-efficient as possible’

Read: ‘Good cop/bad cop’ claims lead to call for banking inquiry to ‘remove cloak of secrecy’

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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