Irish Polling Indicator: Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil gaining

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The largest government party, Fine Gael, and the largest opposition party, Fianna Fáil, have both seen their electoral prospects improve over the last months, according to the Irish Polling Indicator. Fine Gael has recovered from a 22% low early December 2014 and now polls around 27%. Micheál Martin’s party also found the way up, increasing about 2% since late March. At 21% the party is finally improving on the consistently poor level of polling it had seen in the last year. Continue reading

Conference on Women in Leadership: North and South

This year’s annual conference of the UCD Institute for British-Irish Studies will be on the theme of women in leadership. It will take place on July 6 at the European Parliament’s office in Molesworth Street, Dublin. To register to attend (free registration) see here: http://www.ucd.ie/ibis/newsevents/latestnewsevents/ibisannualconference2015/

Programme:

9:45am Registration

9:50am Welcome by Prof David Farrell (IBIS, UCD)

10:00am Frances Fitzgerald, TD, Minister for Justice and Equality

10:30am Tea/Coffee Break

10:45am Women’s Leadership in Political and Public Life
Chair: Dr Melanie Hoewer (IBIS, UCD)
Prof Yvonne Galligan (Queens University Belfast)
Senator Ivana Bacik (Trinity College Dublin)
Fiona Buckley (University College Cork)
Professor Joan Ballantine (University of Ulster)

12:05pm Civic Leaders and the Leadership Pipeline
Chair: Prof Elizabeth Meehan (QUB/UCD)
Niamh Gallagher (Women for Election)
Kate McCullough (N.I. Women’s European Platform)
Louise Glennon (National Women’s Council of Ireland)
Grainne McVeigh (Women’s Inspiration Network)

1:30pm Lunch

2:30pm Political Leadership
Chair: Bronagh Hinds (DemocraShe/IBIS)
Paula Bradley, MLA (Democratic Unionist Party)
Caitriona Ruane, MLA (Sinn Féin)
Senator Averil Power
Senator Kathyrn Reilly (Sinn Féin)
Other speaker(s) TBC

4.15pm Conference Close

Upcoming Event: The Marriage Referendum; Predicting the General Election

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Everyone is welcome at this post referendum seminar organised by the Voters, Parties and Elections Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland.The seminar will include presentations using data from the 2015 Referendum Study. Please email Jane or Theresa on voterspartieselections@gmail.com to confirm your attendance for catering purposes. Further information on the referendum study is available at https://referendumstudy.wordpress.com/about/ and the date, location and programme for the seminar is available below.

Conference Room, European Parliament Office, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

1 July 2015 at 5.30pm

Continue reading

Referendums aren’t for the faint hearted

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The marriage referendum was an emotional roller-coaster. The reports of thousands taking boats and flights home to vote in the marriage referendum were heart-lifting. Ursula Halligan’s revelation in the last week of the marriage referendum campaign that she had hidden her sexuality from everyone, including at times herself was heart-breaking. She cited the referendum campaign as the reason she finally found the bravery to come out. We can only assume that she was relieved at the response and delighted at the result of the referendum. The referendum gave popular approval to a group that had felt isolated and afraid. Few who witnessed it will forget the happy, open and emotional atmosphere in Ireland on the weekend of the result.

But there’s a reason why Ireland is the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote. Continue reading

In the National Interest? Abuse of Dáil Privilege or acting in the Public Interest?

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Posted on behalf of Dr. Jennifer Kavanagh – Waterford IT

The controversy surrounding the non-reporting of statements by Catherine Murphy TD made in Dáil Eireann last week appears to have been ameliorated by the pronouncement by Mr Justice Donald Binchy that an earlier court order was not intended to stop the reporting of Dáil statements. Some of the focus of this controversy may now move towards whether the statements by Catherine Murphy were an abuse of Dáil privilege. This issue will have to be pursued through the Houses of the Oireachtas. Continue reading

On the same-sex marriage and presidential age referendums

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By Michael Gallagher

The expectation was that the same-sex marriage referendum would deliver a comfortable Yes and the vote on reducing the minimum age for the president an equally decisive No, and that’s just how it worked out. The latter achieved the distinction of delivering the lowest Yes vote (only 27 per cent) of any of the 39 referendums held in this country to date but will otherwise be remembered only for being entirely forgettable, and the puzzle for future historians will be to work out how it ever got onto the ballot paper, given that no-one seemed sufficiently motivated to put together a leaflet or a poster about it, let alone canvass for it.

The same-sex marriage referendum, in contrast, evidently reached parts of the body politic that referendum proposals don’t usually get to. Turnout was just over 60 per cent, the highest since the divorce referendum of November 1995, implying that the issue at stake seemed to the electorate to be more important than the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the Nice and Lisbon Treaties, the election of a president in 1997 and 2011, and even, remarkable as it may seem, the possible abolition of the Seanad. Continue reading

The government continues to slight the work of the Constitutional Convention

In the light of the marriage equality and presidential age referendums last week – both the product of recommendations of the Constitutional Convention, a review of the current state of play of government responses to the Convention’s recommendations is timely.

The attached table gives the current situation as of today: ICC recommendations as of May 2015 Continue reading