A free event to be held at UCD Newman House, November 13, 2015, 9.30am-1.00pm
To register, see here
Ireland’s Convention on the Constitution, which met from late 2012 to early 2014, was a world first both in allowing ordinary citizens a place in discussions about the future of our Constitution and also due to its role in the calling of the marriage referendum earlier this year.
This half-day seminar – which has been supported by the Department of the Taoiseach – will review the work, operation and outcomes of the Convention. The panelists will include former members and organisers of the Convention, the academic team who supported and monitored its operation, and journalists who provided critical coverage of it.
9.30 arrive and registration
9.45: Welcome and introduction: Prof Ken Carty (research director of the British Columbia citizens’ assembly) will make some opening remarks
10.00: Panel discussion on the Convention and its outcomes. Confirmed participants include: Tom Arnold (Chair of the Convention), Art O’Leary (Secretary), Dr Jane Suiter (DCU), Dearbhail McDonald (Legal Editor, Irish Independent), and Senator Katherine Zappone, Deirdre Donaghy and Aideen Larkin (three members of the Convention).
11.30: tea/coffee break
12.00: What can we learn from the Irish Constitutional Convention? A presentation of research findings by the academic team who supported the work of the Convention.
13.00: End of workshop. A free lunch will be provided.
I’m currently reading José Saramago’s Seeing (a gift from a former student), which tells the story of how panic sets in among a city’s political classes after the vast bulk of the citizens cast a blank ballot in an election. It’s a great read, though I have to admit I thought the storyline a bit far-fetched. Even with all the problems of our political system are we ever likely to end up in a scenario where such large numbers of citizens are so angry that they simply refuse to engage in the political process at all? Granted, electoral turnout is in decline, but outside of the USA and Switzerland across most of the world’s democracies the bulk of citizens still vote.
To my mind Saramago’s image of a citizenry so turned off that they disengage completely from the political system just didn’t seem credible. That was until yesterday when I stood in the centre of Barcelona and witnessed Catalonia’s (now) annual independence day rally of September 11. Continue reading
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/
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)
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
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
There are many people and organisations to credit for the outcome of the marriage referendum, not least the incredible campaign mounted by the Yes side, as described by Noel Whelan in today’s Irish Times.
A question to ask is whether this referendum would ever have happened but for the huge endorsement this issue received from the Constitutional Convention, which debated this matter in April 2013. Would a socially conservative Fine Gael have been willing to accept its junior coalition partner’s desire for a referendum on a matter that hadn’t been included in the programme for government? Would the issue have attracted quite such a degree of all-party consensus? Continue reading
The Spring Economic Statement delivered today (see here) represents a very belated dipping of the toe in the water towards greater budgetary transparency by the government. We were promised this in 2011. The fact that it’s finally starting to happen four years later and coincidentally on the eve of the next election – is noteworthy. But at least it’s a start!
The cost of being more up front about budgetary plans is that the opposition is given an opportunity to criticize the government over its budgetary direction. To a degree this is all to be expected. But – not for the first time – the government has left itself unnecessarily vulnerable. And, again – not for the first time – the cause of this is lack of transparency. Continue reading
Posted by David Farrell, April 13, 2015
The Report of the Working Group on Seanad Reform was published earlier today (see here). It was given a limited range of options: no change, minor change, or major change (but not involving constitutional reform). In opting for the latter the working group has defied most expectations (certainly mine), and in so doing has potentially re-opened the far more important debate over the need for radical Oireachtas reform. Continue reading