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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 31 Mar 2004

Vol. 583 No. 1

Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2004: Order for Second Stage.

Bill entitled an Act to amend and extend the Electoral Acts 1992 to 2002, the European Parliament Elections Acts 1992 to 2004, the Presidential Elections Acts 1992 to 2001, the Local Government Acts 1925 to 2003, the Local Elections Acts 1974 to 2002 and the Referendum Acts 1992 to 2001 and to provide for related matters.

The Labour Party considers this Bill unconstitutional. It is also premature in that the commission to examine the issue of electronic voting is required to report by 1 May. The Bill prejudices the commission, its work and its report because it proposes to enact in law matters on which the commission is expected to report. In any event, this House ought to be discussing more important things. It is odd that in a week in which one cannot post a letter or have one delivered, the Government is introducing legislation to provide for voting by electronic means. The Labour Party opposes the motion.

Has the Minister declared his conflict of interest in this matter?

Is the Deputy opposing the motion?

Yes. The Minister is Fianna Fáil's director of elections, yet he intends to introduce a system of voting without consultation with the other parties in the House or with the public. Will he declare his conflict of interest before Second Stage is taken?

The Green Party also opposes the taking of Second Stage of the Bill on the grounds that the consultative process that should have taken place before the introduction of a Bill of this nature — a Bill that deals with the very basis of our democratic system, the way in which our citizens vote — was not engaged in by the Government and that the Bill is going through the House prior to the publication of the report of the commission which was set up to decide whether the proposed system is feasible. Public faith in the electoral system, which must be inspired by the workings of this House, is being diminished by the way in which the Government intends to push through this legislation.

Question put.
The Dáil divided by electronic means.

Given the importance of the issue at hand, I believe it is appropriate that there should be a vote other than by electronic means. As a teller, under Standing Order 69, I propose that the vote be taken by other than electronic means.

As Deputy Stagg is a Whip, under Standing Order 69 he is entitled to call a vote through the lobby.

Question again put: "That Second Stage be taken now."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 71; Níl, 56.

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Brady, Martin.
  • Brennan, Seamus.
  • Browne, John.
  • Callanan, Joe.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Curran, John.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Tony.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Glennon, Jim.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Donoghue, John.
  • O’Donovan, Denis.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Ned.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • Parlon, Tom.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Sexton, Mae.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilkinson, Ollie.
  • Wright, G. V.


  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Boyle, Dan.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connolly, Paudge.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Cowley, Jerry.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Padraic.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McHugh, Paddy.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Murphy, Gerard.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Pattison, Seamus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Sherlock, Joe.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Hanafin and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Boyle and Harkin.
Question declared carried.