Adrian Kavanagh, 30th March 2012
The Paddy Power-Red C (30th March) poll makes for good reading for the government parties – it points to a cementing of the significant gains in Fine Gael’s support levels evident in the weekend’s Red C poll in The Sunday Business Post while Labour are ranked as the second most popular party in the state. Fianna Fail support levels remain entrenched in the mid teens while there is somewhat of a drop in Sinn Fein’s poll ratings relative to the levels reached by the party in polls over the past few weeks and months. The poll puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings as follows (relative to the weekend’s Red C poll): Fine Gael 35% (up 1%), Labour 16% (up 1%), Fianna Fail 15% (down 1%), Sinn Fein 14% (down 4%), Green Party, Independents and Others 20% (up 3%). On the basis of this constituency level analysis – based on assigning seats on the basis of constituency support estimates (simply using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats), while also taking account of the factors of vote transfers and vote splitting/management (based on vote transfer/management patterns oberved in the February 2011 election) - party seat levels would be estimated as follows: Fine Gael 70, Labour 31, Fianna Fail 19, Sinn Fein 21, Green Party, Independents and Others 25. Continue reading
From Eoin Daly (posted by Jane Suiter)
2012 marks the 75th anniversary of our Constitution. The present Government has committed to establishing a “constitutional convention” this year, as part of its political reform agenda and on foot of the Programme for Government. However, the convention will serve essentially as an advisory group, constituted of citizens and elected representatives. Moreover, its remit looks set to be surprisingly limited, focusing on a handful of issues including blasphemy law and the duration of the presidential term. Disappointingly, it appears that it will not address crucial issues such as executive dominance, or the codification and strengthening of constitutional rights in key areas. Continue reading
The government’s recently unveiled proposals on the forthcoming constitutional convention make for disappointing reading for those who, like this author, had hoped that such a body could facilitate profound political reform in Ireland.
The proposed convention, to be comprised of a chair, 66 members of the public and 33 elected politicians, is hobbled by a narrow and disjointed pre-set agenda, and limited to a strictly advisory role.
Adrian Kavanagh, 26th March 2012
The Sunday Business Post-Red C (25th March) poll points to a significant gain in Fine Gael’s support levels relative to the previous such poll (of March 4th) just a week ahead of the party’s Ard Fheis, with a slight decline in support levels for Fianna Fail, Labour and Independents. Sinn Fein’s position as the state’s second most popular party, established in the March 4th poll, is further cemented in this poll with the party remaining at a support level of 18%. The Sunday Business Post-Red C poll puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings as follows: Fine Gael 34% (+4%), Labour 15% (down 1%), Fianna Fail 16% (down 1%), Sinn Fein 18% (NC), Green Party 2% (NC), Independents and Others 17% (down 2%). On the basis of this constituency level analysis – based on assigning seats on the basis of constituency support estimates (simply using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats), while also taking account of the factors of vote transfers and vote splitting/management (based on vote transfer/management patterns oberved in the February 2011 election) - party seat levels would be estimated as follows: Fine Gael 73, Labour 24, Fianna Fail 20, Sinn Fein 29, Green Party 0, Independents and Others 21. Continue reading
From Nuala Haughey, Advocacy and Research Officer, Transparency International Ireland
As the Mahon report rightly states, corruption thrives in shadows and darkness. The twilight world of political finances – and the toxic nexus between business and political parties – is an obvious area where the disinfectant properties of sunlight are much needed.
The Mahon report echoes the Moriarty report in emphasising that disclosure must be the bedrock of all attempts to control corruption risks associated with money in politics.
Transparency International Ireland believes that detailed disclosure by political parties and candidates of assets, income and expenditures, together with adequate oversight and enforcement, is the starting point of any decent regulatory framework. Continue reading
Posted by David Farrell (March 19, 2012)
Next Workshop on Political Representation Issues
Interested colleagues, including research fellows and students, are warmly invited to attend the first of the McDougall Trust’s 2012 series of lunchtime workshops on political representation issues. Light refreshments (coffee, tea, biscuits, pastries, fruit juice) will be available from 12.45 pm and after the workshop. Please aim to arrive by 12.50 pm.
Tuesday 27 March 2012, 1.00-2.30 pm (with a short break at 1.55 pm):
Zipping, twinning or all women shortlists? Electoral systems and the representation of women
Speakers: Professor Sarah Childs of Bristol University and Dr Rosie Campbell, Birkbeck College, University of London
Chair: Michael Steed, McDougall Trust
Venue: City Temple Conference Centre, Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2DE (please note new venue)
Sarah Childs and Rosie Campbell discuss the role that electoral systems play in improving the representation of women in legislatures.
Please register your interest in attending by noon on Monday, 26 March 2012.
Contact point: the Trust’s Executive Secretary, Paul Wilder (telephone: 020 7620 1080, e-mail: email@example.com or post: 6, Chancel Street, London SE1 0UX). Registrants will be sent an email confirming the workshop details. Do check the website for details of future workshops http://www.mcdougall.org.uk/workshops.html
Directions to the City Temple Conference Centre: The nearest underground stations are Chancery Lane (Central line) and Farringdon (Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan Circle lines). City Thameslink mainline station is close by. The area is served by bus routes 8, 17, 25, 45, 46, 63, 242, 341, 521 and 710.
Guest post by R.K. Carty (posted by David Farrell, March 13, 2012)
March 3, 2012 may mark the second most important date in Fianna Fáil history. On the 16th of May 1926, De Valera, Lemass and their gang took a deliberate decision to create a new organization themselves. Now, eighty-six years later, Martin and Dorgan have chosen to act as midwives to a party seeking to be reborn. Continue reading
Posted by David Farrell (March 8, 2012)
The government’s (presumably first) annual report 2012 includes a chapter on political reform, helpfully listing the achievements to date. At first blush, if we take the list purely at face value, it does look impressive enough: Continue reading
Posted by Elaine Byrne
As part of a class project on deliberative democracy and the Constitutional Assembly, these are the views of the Comparative Political Reform, Senior Sophister Class, Department of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin
Brief Background Statement
A renewed focus on the nature of the democracy in the aftermath of the Arab spring and similar uprisings means our own western liberal democracies have grown increasingly conscious of democratic deficits closer to home. The sense that existing democratic institutions are failing us can be said to be manifested in increasing levels of alternative participatory movements, not to mention much diminished trust in traditional governments. In Ireland, the most recent Eurobarometer survey shows trust in government at an all-time low of 15%. This sense of disconnect between popular opinion and public policy poses a threat to the legitimacy of Irish democracy. In a time of economic uncertainty, such concerns become all the more pressing. This is not a uniquely Irish phenomenon. Other countries grappling with similar disaffection in their political mechanisms have sought to address these issues in innovative ways. Notable among these is the establishment of deliberative processes such as Citizens’ Assemblies Continue reading