Post by Harry McGee, political correspondent The Irish Times. This article originally appeared in the Connacht Tribune, 12 June 2013
I have to say I was sceptical about the notion of a citizens’ assembly becoming part of official political discourse in Ireland. The idea is that rather than getting politicians to decide on new political direction, you get a representative group of people drawn from all strands of society – getting the demographics and geographics right, as Bertie Ahern kept on saying.
To me it seemed like an indulgence to political scientists – telling them all their Christmases had come Continue reading
The last election was seen at the time as an electoral earthquake. In the midst of the worst economic crisis in our history it was to be expected that the voters would be gunning for the government of the day. The devastation of Fianna Fáil (losing three-quarters of their seats) and the disappearance of the Greens (losing all of theirs) certainly seemed of earthquake proportions, as were the historically high levels of electoral volatility – one of the highest ever recorded in any democracy (see here). It was said at the time that politics would never be the same again: moulds had been broken; party allegiances had been blown away; Fianna Fáil were judged to be in their death throes never to return again. Continue reading
3-6 pm, Thursday April 25th 2013
Institute of Bankers, 1 North Wall Quay, Dublin 1
Sponsored by NUI Maynooth (NIRSA/ Sociology) and UCD Geary Institute Continue reading
Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street
November 2 2012
An event organised by We the Citizens, in cooperation with the Royal Irish Academy and the G1000 (Belgium)
This event is designed to coincide with the establishment of the Irish government’s constitutional convention. This is the first time an Irish government has involved ordinary citizens in discussions about constitutional reform. Mini-publics may be a relatively new phenomenon to Ireland, but their use is quite widespread in a number of other countries, such as the Icelandic constitutional council, the British Columbia citizens’ assembly, the Dutch citizens’ forum, or the Belgian G1000 citizen summit. This event aims at reviewing these and other examples of deliberation in practice.
The participants include some of the world’s leading experts in the field:
- Ken Carty (University of British Columbia) – the academic director of the British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly (Canada)
- Henk van der Kolk (University of Twente) – the academic director of the Dutch Bürgerforum
- Erikur Bergmann (Bifrost University) – former member of the Icelandic Constitutional Council
- Didier Caluwaerts (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgique), Min Reuchamps (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgique), Peter Vermeersch (University of Leuven) – members of the academic team of the G1000 citizen summit (Belgium)
- David Farrell (UCD), Eoin O’Malley (DCU) and Jane Suiter (DCU) – members of the academic team of We the Citizens (Ireland)
- Other academics specializing in the study of deliberation, including: André Bächtiger (Universität Luzern), Gemma Carney (NUIG), Patrick Fournier (University of Montreal), Clodagh Harris (UCC), Kaisa Herne (Turku University), Gerry Stoker (Southampton University)
To register, please contact Claudia Saba email@example.com
For more information, David Farrell David.Farrell@ucd.ie
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 – 4903237).
Posted by David Farrell, June 5 2012
In the aftermath of the Fiscal Treaty referendum, Bruno Kaufmann reflects on the need for radical democratic reform in Ireland and also across the EU. As he puts it, the citizens need to be brought onto ‘the political stage’. Mr Kaufmann is the President of the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe, and Chair of the Election Commission for the Swedish city government of Falun. His blog can be accessed here.
Administration, published by the Institute of Public Administration, has just been re-launched and includes an article by Minister Howlin on ‘Reform of the Public Service’.
COF IDEAS – REINVENTING OUR DEMOCRACY
A NATIONAL DISCUSSION
IN: CROKE PARK, DUBLIN
ON: 26TH MAY
REGISTRATION: 10 AM
Individuals and organizations from the full breadth of civil society will explore new ideas on democracy and share their thinking with each other on how to reinvent our democracy. Register now and join the discussion in Croke Park.
This debate is urgent as economic crisis deepens the fault lines in our already flawed democracy.
Distrust in our local democracy is evident in the refusal to pay the household charge. The power of our national government is subservient to international financial institutions and markets. A democratic deficit is apparent in the negotiation and content of the new European fiscal compact treaty.
Funding cuts to community groups have diminished democracy by limiting their capacity to articulate the interests of those living in poverty and inequality. The limited agenda proposed for the Constitutional Convention exposes the lack of energy in our democracy.
We need a ‘high energy’ democracy if we are to emerge from crisis and flourish as a society. We need a democracy that can raise the temperature of politics, develop alternative social and economic models, and embrace both representative and participative forms of democracy.
JOIN THE NATIONAL DISCUSSION IN DUBLIN ON MAY 26TH 2012
REGISTER NOW ON http://www.claimingourfuture.ie
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