The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has today outline his plans for to allow Oireachtas Inquires within the limits of the rejection of the constitutional referendum last year.
the RTE report is here.
The official announcement is here
The Bill will now be drafted so much is still to be played for, It will however be interesting to see at what stage it is given to the relevant committee to debate and decide. Clearly if this is to be about empowering the Oireachtas rather than the executive then very significant input must be given to Oireachtas Committee on Petitions and Inquiries.
On Friday, the Ireland Stat pilot website went live at http://www.irelandstat.gov.ie
According to the DPER the objective of Ireland Stat is “to provide a whole-of-Government performance measurement system. At its simplest the website brings together data from a whole variety of different sources and sets them in the context of Department’s goals to show what Ireland has achieved, what it did in order to deliver on those goals, what it cost and how Ireland compares internationally.”
It is still very much at the beta stage and many of the categories are empty, nonetheless it looks as if it has the potential to be an interesting site, although much detail would have to be added.
There is a consultation process where suggestions may be used for future developments and improvements on the website.
Theresa Reidy and myself had a piece in the Irish Times earlier this week on the need to think about change for referendum rules. Many of the comments on The Irish Times site were from no voters in the Children’s Referendum who appeared to think that we would seek to ensure that their voices are not heard. However, in fact what we argue is that if we are to utilise the tools of direct democracy such as referendums then we should seek to maximise the democratic outputs. Referendums with low turnouts and large sections of the population not understanding the issue at hand are not enhancing of our democracy. Thus we need to look at new models.
Regular contributor Donal has asked us to link to his case for Swiss-style citizens initiative and direct democracy, which the Human Rights in Ireland website* has just published as part of the series Shadow Constitutional Convention,
He argues that there may be change in the criteria of decision-making at the top; change in social habits at the bottom. But unless these two are bridged by the mutual education of the democratic process, communication between the top and the bottom may cease. In Ireland, where the stimulus to change is external, something like this may in fact be happening
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
From Clodagh Harris
Research shows that people have ‘become more and more disenchanted with the traditional institutions of representative government, detached from political parties, and disillusioned with old forms of civic engagement and participation’ (Yetano, Royo and Acrete, 2010: 783).
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
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
From Jane Suiter
A group of us including Professor Michael Marsh, Dr Theresa Reidy and I along with Red C were commissioned to undertake research following the referendums in November with a view to learning lessons for future referendum campaigns. The report is here and the presentation given to the Oireachtas Committee on Investigations, Oversight and Petitions yesterday. here. Continue reading
It is great to see that the Government is making good on its word to establish a Constitutional Convention, see report here. There are many parts of the 1937 Constitution which should be looked at from a political reform perspective. Some of these including reducing the voting age, allowing gay marriage and abolishing the Seanad are in the Programme for Government and are thus likely to form a major plank of the initiative despite there being other initiatives which some regular posters on here may like to see. Continue reading