Party Whips in Politics

Some people think that this refers to the exploits of Lindi St Claire but in Dail Eireann the crack of the whip and the belt of the crosier have felt hauntingly and humiliatingly similar for the best part of a century.

The Stag Hunting Bill is a classic example of why the party whip system is insulting, inappropriate, iniquitous and injurious to the self respect of the sentient adult politician.

The whip should be confined to quantitative bills involving finance. Bills in the areas of justice, civil rights and behaviour should be free votes decided on their merits by the representatives of the people of Ireland. The major Irish Parties are catch-alls (including Labour). That means that diversity must be respected and the free vote is the best way to ensure that objective.

The argument in favour of the whip is that the government will fall if it is not applied – wrong. It must be confined to a financial matter or a vote of confidence. The whip system also allows TDs to hide behind rhetoric and vote the opposite way thus having it both ways.

Even though I am glad the Stag Hunting Bill passed because I do not agree with the infliction of pain and terror on animals, the method of passing of the bill was deeply distressing. The Ward Union Hunt has around 200 members. It is being held up as a metaphor for country pursuits. That is clearly absurd.

The right thing to do was have an open vote. So TOMMY BROUGHAN, I RESPECT YOU. So much is forgiven! I did not say ALL!!!!! The Labour Party is … Oouch.

The following Fianna Fail TDs Mary Wallace, Thomas Byrne, Johnny Brady, Michael Kenndy, Maire Hoctor, and Sean Power spoke against the legislation but voted in favour. Mattie McGrath FF followed the logic of his opinions and voted against. I am glad that he was the only one otherwise the legislation might have floundered. I am a little confused by the activity of Christy O’Sullivan TD but he voted for the Bill in the end.

Finally my allies in Fine Gael? Do I take it that everyone is in favour of allowing the the practice of hunting carted red deer with a pack of hounds to continue. I have only one description that I think is fitting – shame!

I know many people think that I am a loose cannon. I most certainly am not. I know what I believe in and why and can explain easily if I have to. I respect others’ right to disagree with me. I intend to limit the Labour Party’s ability to obfuscate on issues in Dublin City and to prevent Fianna Fail pretending they are in opposition and can oppose and condemn every government-ordered cut in services. Like the Skibbereen Eagle and the Russians, Bill will be watching them!

For the record, I am also in favour of the dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009 to prevent the gross abuse of gods.

As I am on record, we humans are sophisticated evolved animals. God is Great, Allah al Akbar and cruelty is wrong.

Dublin City Council

The whip system is rarely used and issues are debated across the chamber to arrive at a point where a vote is taken. Parties regularly have people on either side. The budget and the Mayoral Elections are exceptions where the whip is applied. Even then some principle comes into play. Look at the webcasts and you will see the way this operates.