27/07/2016

Labour Calls For Corrupt Politicians To Be Barred From Re-Election

Labour has called for corrupt politicians to be barred from seeking re-election.

Senator Gerald Nash made the call following reports that the government is to drop plans to ban TDs convicted of corruption from running again for election to the Dáil.

"The fact is that a corruption conviction is accepted as a bar to public office in many Anglo-American jurisdictions. We need some convincing explanation as to why our Constitution means our laws must be different," Deputy Nash said.

"Apparently it is being argued that, since the law won't prevent someone convicted of murder or rape from running for election, 'it would be difficult to treat someone found guilty of corruption differently'.

"With respect, this diffidently expressed opinion doesn't withstand scrutiny. There is a clear connection between corruption and public office that doesn't exist in relation to other offences, and which fully justifies these crimes being treated differently.

"On this logic, will the Government now say that it is unconstitutional to ban people guilty of Company Act offences from serving as company directors? Or that publicans who breach the Licencing Acts can no longer have their licences extinguished?

"We need a more convincing explanation than this if the Tánaiste is to justify her volte face. If we don't get one, we will certainly table appropriate amendments to her Bill, to allow the Dáil and Seanad make up their own mind on this important issue."

(MH/LM)

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