Getting Reform Right for EU legislative oversight

committe3By Gavin Barrett (UCD School of Law) 30 September

Oireachtas reform is a hot topic at present. Many cite the need for the Oireachtas to do its European Union-related work better as an objective justifying retaining the Seanad. Others claim the Dáil alone can do such work and more besides.

It seems worthwhile asking, therefore: just how well is the Oireachtas doing its European Union-related scrutiny and legislative work at present? Continue reading

Should we postpone the referendum on the Fiscal Compact?

The Change is Now!

Posted by Eoin O’Malley (26 April, 2012)

François Hollande had made it clear in campaigning for the French presidency that he was no fan of the Fiscal Compact and indicated that he would be against French ratification of the Treaty. Now that his election looks more than likely he has again stated his opposition to the Treaty. In today’s Irish Times he is reported as saying

“There will be a renegotiation. Will the Treaty be changed? I hope so. Or another Treaty arranged? That is up for negotiation. But the Treaty, as is, will not be ratified.” Continue reading

Internet Win – Wikipedia entry on ‘Citizens’ Assembly’

I recall studying the Enlightenment in West European history and being fascinated by Diderot’s Encyclopédie project. It was an amazing effort and achievement in its own right, but can really only be understood in the broader context of Enlightement goals and values, perhaps best explained by Kant in his essay: ‘An Answer to the Question: “What is Enlightenment?”

Kant explains his thesis in an admirably succint manner in the essay’s first line: ‘Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity’. Knowledge and reason can allow us to take greater control of our own individual and collective destiny – rather than remaining passive and fearful. However, one’s capacity to learn is limited by available resources, and the media is often skewed in its presentation of the political world.

Continue reading

Did the United States throw Ireland to the wolves during the bailout negotiations?

By Michael Breen (17 May, 2011)

An interesting piece of information that was not previously in the public domain surfaced in Morgan Kelly’s now infamous Irish Times article. He stated that:

‘The deal was torpedoed from an unexpected direction. At a conference call with the G7 finance ministers, the haircut was vetoed by US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner who, as his payment of $13 billion from government-owned AIG to Goldman Sachs showed, believes that bankers take priority over taxpayers. The only one to speak up for the Irish was UK chancellor George Osborne, but Geithner, as always, got his way. An instructive, if painful, lesson in the extent of US soft power, and in who our friends really are.’ Continue reading

Jumping Ship from Brussels to Dublin: a question of legitimacy

John O’Brennan (10 January, 2011)

It is somewhat perplexing for many Irish citizens when they find that individuals elected to political office very recently decide to jump ship, once a seemingly better career opportunity presents itself. It is only 18 months since the elections to the European Parliament took place in July 2009. The Parliament’s mandate is for five years, therefore one might expect elected members to commit to office for that period. Continue reading

O’Toole Lays His Cards on the Table

By Matt Wall

Fintan O’Toole’s summary of the reforms that he proposes in his new book: ‘Enough is Enough’  advocates ’30 key steps’ to that we need to take to reform democracy in Ireland – many of which have been debated intensely on this site. 

Some of these are more contested than others, there are well-rehearsed arguments on either side of the electoral reform and gender quota debates for instance – but I think he is to be applauded for laying out a suite of concrete proposals for debate. Hopefully this is a signal that we are starting to look towards the future, so that we don’t end up repeating the mistakes of the past.