John Drennan’s Sindo article points to growing backbench opposition to the government’s proposed referendum on abolishing the Seanad. This development is unsurprising, given the tightness of electoral margins in Ireland’s political system and the personal investment of Oireachtas members in retaining their positions (although, as we all know, the pension’s not too bad if you do get the boot). However, the naked self-interest on display in this debate is enough to sicken even a seasoned observer of the venality of the Irish political class.
Posted by Matt Wall
A letter to the Irish Times from six former Senators represents a faltering start to the campaign against the government’s plans to abolish the Seanad. The six argue, as many others have and will, for reform rather than abolition. Sadly, their case is not helped by the farcical nature of many of the ‘debates’ that unfold with such regularity and futility in the current Seanad. Such debates are all-too-often nothing more than set pieces. They tend to be treated as such by their participants – rhetorical grandstanding and political point scoring are par for the course, and considered, constructive inputs are far more rare (though by no means absent).
So I recently learned that The Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill 2011 will soon be passed as law. Looks like some really progressive stuff, especially when you look at the ongoing hyper monetization of politics that is taking place in the usa. I can’t wait to see the parties publish comprehensive accounts, which should let the media, academia, and general public keep a closer eye on how we fund our politics.
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
Here is a link to the ‘The Week in Politics’ coverage of the political reform debate on RTE last night – Brian Dowling’s report touches on a lot of key themes, and much of the discussion explores important ideas. Definitely worth a watch IMO. I’ve posted some reactions of my own below…
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.
The government’s recently unveiled proposals on the forthcoming constitutional convention make for disappointing reading for those who, like this author, had hoped that such a body could facilitate profound political reform in Ireland.
The proposed convention, to be comprised of a chair, 66 members of the public and 33 elected politicians, is hobbled by a narrow and disjointed pre-set agenda, and limited to a strictly advisory role.
Posted by David Farrell (January 14, 2012)
Two areas greatly in need for reform are funding of politics and the operation of the Dáil – both in the news today (see here and here). In fairness to the government, some move has been made on both agendas (more generally, see here): legislation has been brought in relating to donations to political parties; and there have been changes to how the Dáil operates including the introduction of Friday sittings. Continue reading
Stephen Collins writing in last Saturday’s Irish Times he argues that one of the big commitments made by the Coalition during the February election and again after it took office was that it would reform the political system. He adds that while there have been some welcome changes to date, they represent a tinkering at the edges rather than fundamental reform. Continue reading