Election 2011 – an age old story? An age profile of the 31st Dail

Mark Farrelly, 31 March 2011

Building on from my study on the ages of TDs historically, I have conducted a more in depth analysis of the ages of TDs elected to the 31st Dáil. Overall the average age of the new Dáil on its first sitting was 48.5, in comparison to 50.4 for the 30th Dáil in 2007.This is the first time since 1982 that the average age has dropped, however the change is only marginal.

 

Figure 1: Average age of TDs at selected general elections, 1922-2011

Continue reading

Reform proposals don’t target corruption

By Iain McMenamin (30 March, 2011)

The Moriarty Tribunal’s report details an exchange between a politician and businessman, the like of which cannot easily be targeted by political reforms. Politicians have a demand for cash and can supply lucrative private goods to business, such as a mobile phone licence. The political demand for cash in Ireland is already limited compared to other countries such as the USA and Australia because paid broadcast advertising is not allowed. The Criminal Assets Bureau has great potential to recoup illicit cash from politicians. Continue reading

Deliberative Democracy and Political Reform


By Dr Gemma Carney and Dr Clodagh Harris

For most voters a sense of déjà vu follows the publication of the Moriarty Report. It appears that relations between the then FG Minister for Communications Michael Lowry and the winner of Ireland’s second mobile phone licence were at best inappropriate. The question again arises: what can be done to clean up politics? Are there alternatives to a populist form of democracy where bad candidates get re-elected on the basis of local issues or lack of alternatives? The current recession has led to lack of legitimacy in a range of public institutions (banks, regulators, corporate sector and politicians). The idea that political reform is necessary is accepted. How reform is achieved is another matter. Deliberative processes may be one way through which this can be achieved. Continue reading

What did TDs do and who did they represent in the previous Dáil?

Just a quick post to provide some findings from the survey of members  (follow link for complete details) in the previous Dáil discussed on last night’s Frontline. Basically, there are no such things as social/political ‘facts’. But when it comes to the ‘role of a TD’ debate – it’s nice to have some evidential basis for discussion (which was lacking in much of last night’s debate).

Continue reading

Removing a TD from Office – Harder than you think…

Jennifer Kavanagh 23/03/2011

(Originally posted on quiatimet.com 22/03/2011)

Today the final Moriarty report was revealed. The allegations therein have caused many to speculate whether charges will be made against any of the persons involved for corruption. One of the people named in the report happens to be that of Michael Lowry who is a sitting TD for the constituency of North Tipperary. If it were to be the case that the House sought to expel a TD then it would make for both interesting political debate and throw up some interesting questions for constitutional law. Continue reading

The Moriarty Tribunal report

Posted by Elaine Byrne

The Moriarty Tribunal has published two reports today into Michael Lowry and Ben Dunne and Michael Lowry and Denis O’Brien

Some highlights:

The Moriarty Tribunal has described Michael Lowry’s actions in influencing the awarding of the mobile phone licence as “disgraceful” and “insidious”.

The tribunal found that his influence was both direct, in his “disgraceful action in bringing a guillotine down on the work of the Project Group” and “indirect and insidious”, arising from his interaction with the chairman of the Project Group, and his intimation of his views on the second-ranked consortium and on how Esat Digifone’s financial problems could be met. Continue reading

Ministry Public Service reform very welcome

By Jane Suiter

I am delighted to see that in the Programme for Government it appears that there will be a full ministry for Public Sector Reform, it is long overdue. As the Programme for Government notes the public service is about serving the common good, not sectional interests. Various interest groups have dominated for far  too long, while there has been almost open warfare between various Government Departments and a myriad of cross-departmental obstacles to effective policy making. These must be addressed urgently and it is possible that the proposed Strategic Centre,   a UK-style Cabinet Office, could do much to tackle the inertia and obfuscation in some parts of the civil service. Continue reading

Who’ll get the Department of Defence?

Eoin O’Malley (5 March, 2011)

Yesterday some of us wrote in the Irish Times about what might need to be done in the government’s first week to show it is serious about political reform. One of the suggestions was for using the Seanad route  to appoint a minister with relevant experience to what will be the strategically important  post of Minister for Foreign Affairs. The whole government formation process will be critical to showing how serious this government is about changing politics and political reform. Who gets what departments and what departments are chosen will determine the focus of the new government,  perhaps even more so that the programme for government. Continue reading