“A veto for the government”: The Money Message as a foil to new legislation

Louise Michelle Fitzgerald, Paul Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Veto players hold the capacity to decline a choice being made, making them powerful actors within legislative systems. During 2016-2020, Ireland was governed by a minority government, reliant on confidence and supply votes from other parliamentarians, thus it did not hold a veto during parliamentary votes. However, if the independent Bills Office deemed a ‘Money Message’ would be necessary for a Private Members’ Bill (PMB), even if it had achieved majority support in the Dáil, then the government could refuse to grant one, returning veto status to the minority government. To date, research has not provided a comprehensive overview of the PMBs blocked, nor examined in detail the cases that were high-profile. Via a nested analysis, we code 79 PMBs, and complement our analysis through interviews with parliamentarians whose bills were blocked. We identify eleven policy themes in the PMBs that were blocked, demonstrating that vetoing via the Money Message was a widespread phenomenon. Next, we conduct a small-n analysis of the application of Money Messages across a variety of bills. Our analysis provides the first comprehensive examination of a procedure that holds lasting implications for the legislative process, perceptions of democracy, and executive dominance over minor parties in Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIrish Political Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Apr 2021


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