[Sinn Fein]

11 July 2001

Welcome for decision on polls

President should refer Waste Bill to Supreme Court

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has welcomed the government's decision to drop its proposed ban on opinion polls in the week before an election. But he pointed out that the Seanad had passed the Waste Management (Amendment) Bill which he described as "much more anti-democratic" and called on the President to refer it to the Supreme Court.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"I welcome the government's climb-down on the opinion poll ban. I made clear my opposition to it and voted against the Bill in the Dáil last week.

"While the decision on polls is welcome the Seanad yesterday (Tuesday) passed a Bill which is actually much more anti-democratic. The Waste Management (Amendment) Bill takes decision-making powers on waste management away from elected local authority members and gives them to City and County Managers. This is designed to force through plans for waste incinerators in every region against the wishes of local communities.

"The government claims they withdrew the poll ban because the Fine Gael and Labour parties no longer support it. But clearly adverse media and public reaction was the key factor. The Waste Bill was opposed by all parties in opposition but received much less media attention. There was no question of the government withdrawing it because there was no cross-party consensus.

"I call on the President, Mary McAleese, to refer the Waste Bill to the Supreme Court as I believe, with many others, that it is unconstitutional."

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