The Lobbying register: facilitating transparency or allowing policy influence ‘under the radar’?

By Nuala Haughey
Almost fifteen years after the idea was first proposed in a Labour Party private members’ Bill, Ireland is due to get a mandatory lobbying register.
The online database will capture information about the efforts of interest groups and professional lobbyists alike to influence policy and legislation. The database is provided for in the Registration of Lobbying Bill 2014 which is currently before the Oireachtas. Groups and individuals who lobby will have to register with the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) and file lobbying returns three times a year.
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A Volatile Electorate: Where Next?

Dr. Mel Farrell, 3 December 2014

The Great Depression helped create the party system that dominated Irish politics for eighty years, the Great Recession may be about to force a new way in Irish politics.

After the 2011 general election, what newly elected Taoiseach Enda Kenny described as a ‘Democratic Revolution’, shook the foundations of Ireland’s political system. Fianna Fáil, a party that had never dropped below 39% of the first preference vote between 1932 and 2007, was decimated at the polls, dropping to 17% and a mere twenty Dáil seats. This represented a fall of 24% from the 41% Fianna Fáil secured at the 2007 general election. Of course, when one factors in the Green Party (-2.9%), and the Progressive Democrats (-2.7%, party dissolved in 2009), one can see that the outgoing government lost a combined 29% of the first preference vote. It was an electoral earthquake with no precedent since the foundation of the state in 1922 and comparable only to the Irish Parliamentary Party’s collapse in December 1918.

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GRECO Report on Corruption in Ireland

Elaine Byrne 21/11/14

The Council of Europe (GRECO) today published it’s fourth evaluation round report on corruption in Ireland. Corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors  contains eleven recommendations.

The recommendations are a timely intervention into the debate on political reform – much of which campaigners for reform have been advocating for some time. No surprises here – the strong focus on judges pay is interesting though. Much of it is echoes the European Commission report on corruption in Ireland published earlier this year.

RECOMMENDATIONS -

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Is Sinn Féin the biggest party according to new poll? No, no, no

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A new poll by Millward Brown came out this weekend, with headline figures of 26% for Sinn Féin and 22% for Fine Gael. This let many news outlets to conclude that Sinn Féin is now the biggest party in the Republic. But this conclusion cannot be drawn from the Millward Brown poll, based on 991 respondents.

First, the difference between Sinn Féin and Fine Gael falls within the margin of error of the poll. While the reported margin of error is 3.1%, this is the margin for any single party. If we calculate the margin of error for the difference between two parties, we find that it is 4.3%. That is just slightly bigger than the 4% gap. This means that even if there was no difference between the two parties among all likely voters, there is more than a 5% probability that a poll of 991 people* finds a difference between SF and FG of 4% or more. Just because of the people that randomly end up being surveyed. This is generally considered inadequate to base firm conclusions on.

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The Parades Commission and legitimacy

march

Post by Dr Dawn Walsh, Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS), The University of Birmingham.

While the summer of 2014 was marked by a surprisingly quiet ‘marching season’ the issue of parades remains a controversial one in Northern Ireland. The difficulties and disputes around Parades by the Loyal Orders, predominantly the Orange Order, can be seen as a cultural manifestation of a constitutional conflict, which has been managed but not resolved by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Migration patterns have resulted in a situation where a number of these parades now pass through or skirt nationalist areas if they follow traditional routes. This is unacceptable to the local residents who see them as sectarian and intimidating. However alterations from these traditional routes are equally unacceptable to marchers who view the parades as an integral part of their culture and re-routing as an infringement on their human rights. Continue reading

Workshop Announcement: Election Institutions and Electoral Integrity

Mayo BallotElection Institutions and Electoral Integrity

16 October 2014

NUI Merrion Square

All Welcome. Please email t.reidy@ucc.ie to confirm attendance (for catering purposes).

 

10.00 – 11.15              Evaluating Electoral Institutions and Administration

Andrew Reynolds, (University of North Carolina) (co-authors: Jorgen Elklit and Pippa Norris)

Why Electoral Integrity Matters: Measurement and Consequences

Carolien VanHam (University of Twente) (co-author: Sarah Birch)

Getting away with foul play? How oversight institutions strengthen election integrity. Continue reading

Government parties gain, independents fall in Irish Polling Indicator

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Irish Polling Indicator, update 21 September 2014 Lines display estimates per party, shaded areas indicate 95% uncertainty margins

Fine Gael and Labour show increased popularity in opinion polls in the last months, the Irish Polling Indicator shows. Fine Gael is now on 26% with Labour at 8%, which represents a 3 percentage point increase for both parties compared to early June. Independents, meanwhile, have seen their support drop from 27% early June to 23% now. Sinn Féin support is now estimated at 22% and Fianna Faíl at 19%; neither party shows a significant change in support over the summer.

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