Govt rejects Labour call to hold Dublin South by-election

Yesterday in the Dáil, Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore put forward a motion seeking to move the writ for the Dublin South by-election.  The seat vacated originally by the death of Seamus Brennan in July 2008 had been filled by George Lee before his resignation.  Apart from Mr Lee’s relatively short tenure, the seat has been waiting to be filled for almost two years.

Speaking in the Dáil chamber, Eamon Gilmore highlighted that between 1997 and 2002, the government waited no longer than one year to hold a by-election.

“Various governments have, in the past, been tardy about calling particularly by –elections, but this is the first government to have adopted a policy that all by-elections should be delayed for as long as possible and I have no doubt that if they thought they would get away with it, they would delay them indefinitely.”

Responding on behalf of the government, Chief Whip John Curran stated that now was not the right time for the by-election.

“Along with significant the economic challenges the country faces, the Government and the House are in the middle of an extremely busy legislative programme.”

Deputy Gilmore pointed out to the Chief Whip that if the writ was moved, the by-election would be held during the Dáil recess and not affect the normal work of the Oireachtas. 

The Motion was defeated by 71 votes to 66.

More :: Click here to read Eamon Gilmore’s speech
More :: Click here to view the full debate including the government response
More :: ‘Chief whip says Dáil too busy for byelection’ (Irish Times)