Citizens’ Voices: Experiments in Democratic Renewal and Reform

Edited by Gemma M Carney and Clodagh Harris (co-convenors of the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland).

This review was compiled by Aoife Crummy, NUI Galway. Posted by Jane Suiter

This e-book emerges from a symposium, ‘Beyond the Ballot: diverse forms of civic engagement between democratic elections,’ held in Dublin in March 2012. Funded by the ‘New Ideas Grant’ from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the PSAI, the e-book is a collection of short versions of the papers which were presented at the symposium. Continue reading

Changing support trends and changing electoral boundaries: Analysis of the Sunday Business Post-Red C poll (24th June 2012)

Adrian Kavanagh, 25th June 2012

The Sunday Business Post-Red C (24th June) poll notes a recovery in support levels for Fine Gael, with Sinn Fein support levels falling relative to the party’s high level in the 26th May poll.  The poll puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings as follows: Fine Gael 32% (+2%), Labour 15% (NC), Fianna Fail 16% (NC), Sinn Fein 16% (down 3%), Green Party, Independents and Others 19% (up 1%). In line with previous posts which have applied a constituency level analysis – using the constiuency units used in the 2011 General Election – based on assigning seats on the basis of constituency support estimates (simply using a d’Hond Continue reading

UPDATE: Lobbying legislation

Posted by Elaine Byrne

Carl O’Brien’s report in today’s Irish Times suggests that the government will implement robust legislation on lobbying. This is very welcome. The policy proposals have yet to released but include:

  • Charities, professional bodies and commercial lobbyists will be on the register of lobbyists
  • A two-year cooling-off period for public servants or ministers before they can work in the private sector
  • A statutory register of lobbyists that would record the dates of all forms of communications
  • A sliding scale of sanctions for lobbyists who fail to disclose details of contacts with decision-makers

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is holding a conference at Farmleigh in July to introduce their Policy Paper on the Regulation of Lobbyists and to provide a forum for discussion. This follows up on a submission process conducted earlier this year.

My Sunday Independent column on lobbyists.

Confessions of a demoralised political scientist

I just finished reading an article in today’s IT on the constitutional convention. In the article, Dr. Conor O’Mahony  claims that the government’s plans on the constitutional convention will be little more than a ‘charade’, indeed, Dr. O’Mahony goes on to describe the planned convention as a ‘joke’. I have to agree with most of Dr. O’Mahony’s assertions, it is no coincidence that they overlap considerably with my own assessment of the government’s plans – I think that the shortcomings of these proposals would be clear to anyone who cared to read them.

Continue reading


posted by David Farrell, June 5 2012

The introduction of gender quotas and its implications for candidate selection and women’s political representation in Ireland will be the focus of a seminar taking place at University College Cork this month. UCC’s Departments of Government and Women’s Studies will present a morning seminar “WOMEN IN POLITICS: FROM QUOTAS TO REPRESENTATION” on Friday, June 15th 2012.

Legislation on political party funding and candidate gender quotas is currently being debated in Dáil Éireann. The Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill 2011 provides for a 30% gender quota for party candidates at the next election, rising to 40% seven years thereafter. Non-compliant parties will risk financial penalties.

Currently, there are only 25 women in Dáil Éireann accounting for 15 per cent of all seats. The numbers for Seanad Éireann are marginally better where 18 of the 60 senators (30 per cent of the seats) are women.

The seminar will hear from a number of researchers and practitioners in the fields of women’s studies and gender politics. Speakers include Minister Kathleen Lynch, Prof. Sarah Childs (Bristol University), Orla O’Connor (National Women’s Council of Ireland) and Fiona Buckley (University College Cork). The seminar will review the current ‘gender quota’ bill and examine how gender quotas can be integrated into candidate selection measures. The seminar will also discuss the link between women’s descriptive and substantive representation, and the impact of women’s (under) representation on policymaking.

The seminar takes place in Room 212 of the O’Rahilly Building, UCC and will run from 9.30am to 12.30pm. While attendance at the seminar is free of charge, attendees are asked to pre-register to ensure availability of seating.

To register and for further information, please contact Fiona Buckley ( or 021 – 4903237).