Should we be able to recall our TDs?

By Michael Gallagher

Recall of elected representatives occasionally surfaces in discussions of political reform, and has been given topicality by the adverse publicity surrounding the Wexford TD Mick Wallace and his tax affairs. It also arose last month (June 2012) in the US state of Wisconsin, where attempts, ultimately unsuccessful, by local Democrats to pull the plug on the term of Republican governor Scott Walker got wide publicity outside the USA in this presidential election year.

The basic idea is that an elected representative is subject to ‘recall’ by his or her voters. Typically, a certain number of signatures on a petition are required, and if this number is reached a referendum on the incumbent’s continuation in office takes place. Continue reading

The Government’s Reform Measures to Date: A Good Start but (Much) More to Do

Post by David Farrell (July 11 2011)

A re-reading of the Coalition Government’s Programme for Government is timely. It’s worth taking stock of the political reform proposals that have been implemented, those that are on going, and those that are (firmly) promised. There has been some undoubted progress, but a lot – a lot – still needs to be done. Continue reading

Red C/Irish Sun poll: Fianna Fáil facing annihilation?

It has been reported that a Red C poll to be published in tomorrow’s Irish Sun estimates party support levels as follows: Fianna Fail 13%. Fine Gael 32%, Labour 24%, Green Party 3%, Sinn Fein 16%, Independents/Others 11%. Bad and all as these figures are for Fianna Fail, my constituency level analysis of the poll suggests that on those figures Fianna Fail support would have dropped below a level at which the extent of seat losses are highly accelerated and in which the party faces the dire prospect of returning to the next Dail with seat figures in the single numbers.  Seats won by the parties based on those figures are estimated as follows: Fianna Fail 12. Fine Gael 67, Labour 48, Green Party 0, Sinn Fein 24, Independents/Others 15. These figures would also raise the possibility of a left-leaning coalition government especially as ten of the seats in the Independents and Others category would be assigned to left wing candidates such as Seamus Healy, Catherine Murphy, Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd Barrett.

Continue reading

Fianna Fail by-election performances

Fianna Fail experienced a significant loss in support in the recent Donegal South West by-election relative to their support level in that constituency, with their support down by 12,792 votes and percentage share of the vote down by 29.2%. But the recent history of the party has shown a tendency for the party to poll poorly in by elections only for party support levels to recover in a subsequent general election.   Continue reading

Donegal South West in maps

Pearse Doherty support by ED in Donegal South West, 2007 General Election

Pearse Doherty support by ED in Donegal South West, 2007 General Election

Adrian Kavanagh, 17 November 2010

Red C opinion poll figures for the Donegal South West by-election and the subsequent general election in that constituency provide ill tidings for Fianna Fail but offer very good news for Sinn Fein and Labour in that constituency.  But past electoral trends suggest that geographical factors/local voting trends will also need to be taken account of here. This post will look especially at geographical voting trends for the last general election in this constituency, based on an analysis and mapping of tally figures for that election. It suggests that the final result can be predicted based on early tallies by knowing the geography of voting in this constituency. Continue reading

Donegal South West by election: The numbers…

Adrian Kavanagh, 5 November 2010

On the basis of the most recent general election results in Donegal South West, this might be expected to be one constituency where Fianna Fail could actually have a realistic chance of winning a by-election (thus becoming the first government party to do so since Noel Treacy won the Galway East by-election in 1982), but a study of local election result trends in the three electoral areas that this Dail constituency is comprised of – Donegal (Town), Glenties and Stranorlar – offers a more sobering portrait for Fianna Fail and offers Fine Gael hope that they could be the party to win this by-election, thus offering prospects of yet another electoral success in western Ireland for the “Kenny Krusade”. Continue reading

Final report of the Joint Committee on the Constitution launched today

David Farrell (July 22, 2010)

The Joint Committee launched its long-anticipated final report (relating to its deliberations over the electoral system) earlier today — running at over 200 pages, with 29 recommendations. There is lots to pick through, but for me the main headlines are the following:

  • The establishment of a Citizen’s Assembly to consider electoral reform
  • Centralizing and streamlining voter registration, with the use of our PPS numbers
  • Lowering voting age to 17 Continue reading

Is the Dail ‘too busy’ for by-elections?

David Farrell (June 25, 2010)

The controversy over the government’s willful blocking of any attempts to call the long over-due by-elections continues. The following letter appeared in today’s Irish Times:

Madam, – The Government chief whip, John Curran said it is inappropriate for the Dublin South byelection to go ahead now because the Dáil “is in the middle of an extremely busy legislative programme” (Dáil Report, June 24th). I suppose that is the same reason Donegal South West has been without a TD since May 2009.
Maybe if the Dáil stopped taking such long recesses (so much longer than any normal worker could dream of), and instead put in the hours that they are so well paid for, then democratic Ireland would have the time to allow all her citizens to be represented. – Yours, etc,
FINNIAN E MATHEWS

Does this really feel like such an ‘exceptionally busy time’ for the Dail? Continue reading