The report of the commission on electronic voting has highlighted the arrogance and incompetence of the Government and was a devastating indictment of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The commission was given narrow terms of reference, which covered just three issues: accuracy, secrecy and testing. The Government's proposal was found inadequate in all three.
This expensive fiasco represents gross incompetence by the Government collectively and by the Minister, Deputy Cullen, on an individual basis. The Government would not listen to appeals from the Opposition for more debate and would not listen to the members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Environment and Local Government, when Deputy Allen tried to have these issues discussed with outside experts. It would not listen to the advice given by independent IT experts, who expressed serious reservations about its plans. We all have to endure political charge. However the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Cullen, disgracefully attacked many of those independent experts as Luddites and anti-globalisation agitators.
The Government is now adopting a classic ostrich-like approach to this report and trying to pretend that the commission was only concerned with a few minor technical points, which can easily be resolved. Would the Taoiseach now accept his proposal for electronic voting is dead in the water? Will the Government now drop the Electoral (Amendment) Bill from the Order Paper and agree to introduce a fully independent electoral commission to be responsible for the running of all future elections, including the introduction of an electronic voting system, which would enjoy complete public trust and support?
Has the Taoiseach received or sought an offer of resignation from the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Cullen——