Legislation that lays the foundation for success

World of Politics with Harry McGee

Were you surprised at the result? I can tell you I wasn’t. Didn’t I predict it last week? I told you more than once that if Cillian Murphy didn’t win the Oscar for Best Actor, I was a Dutchman. It’s a strange thing that the triumph of the Cork actor in the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday night was, in its own way, as political as the referendum result on Saturday.

One of the primary functions of politics is to make decisions (either through politics or through legislation) that will change things and improve the lot of people or make changes to society. Every year the government of the day passes hundreds of pieces of legislation and regulations and makes far more policy decisions (not to mention the stuff that comes from the EU) that affect our lives.

Just now, a mammoth Planning Bill of 750 pages is going through the Dáil and the Seanad with the intention of eliminating all the frustrating bottlenecks and delays and messing around in our planning system at present.

It’s trying to streamline the planning system so that housing developments and big infrastructure are not bogged down in judicial review cases for many years.

At the same time, a special committee has recommended in the past week that assisted dying should be introduced in Ireland in limited circumstances, for patients who are terminally ill. That is also a big change.

Hate crime legislation is also in train at the moment but that has been very contentious, and I think, given all the protests in relation to immigration in recent months, the Coalition might be minded to park it.

Now and again, a decision is made that will have repercussions for decades afterwards and will be genuinely considered as a game changer.

Pictured: President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina after casting their Referendum votes on Friday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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