Posted by David Farrell (March 8, 2012)
The government’s (presumably first) annual report 2012 includes a chapter on political reform, helpfully listing the achievements to date. At first blush, if we take the list purely at face value, it does look impressive enough: Continue reading
Last week The Irish Times
published the late Peter Mair’s excellent speech at MacGill this year (about 30 minutes in).
Mair argued that the problem in Ireland is that we don’t respect our State. We have never respected our State. We have never had a sense of belonging for our State. If anything we have viewed the State as the enemy, as an oppressor, as something not to be trusted but to be taken advantage of.
“That’s the culture of the cute hoors, the strokes, you get away with it and getting away with it against the State is getting away with something which is not us and doesn’t belong to us but belongs somewhere out there and it is not ours”
Interestingly, Mair had a number of solutions. Perhaps controversially in his sights was the electoral system or what he called amoral localism – which is that you do anything you can to benefit your locality and your constituency and your district, and your TD will do anything he can to benefit your locality and your district and your constituency and, in a sense, damn everything else
The result he says is that we have been so busy as citizens in ensuring the representation of our own interests and those of our constituencies that we have lost sight of the broader, collective interest, ….. We exert great control over our TDs [but] have never sought to exert any control over our governments. This is not a new argument for readers of this blog but his solutions are worth considering.
1.Reform the electoral system
2. Change the Dáil. End the quiescence
3. Give real power to local government.
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
Just a quick post to provide some findings from the survey of members (follow link for complete details) in the previous Dáil discussed on last night’s Frontline. Basically, there are no such things as social/political ‘facts’. But when it comes to the ‘role of a TD’ debate – it’s nice to have some evidential basis for discussion (which was lacking in much of last night’s debate).
David Farrell (February 20, 2011)
Early in the campaign I happened on a radio story in which the intrepid reporter was following a sitting TD on his election canvass. Everywhere the politician went he met with a positive reaction from his constituents. The basis of the whole story was that this was a politician in tune with his electorate, a popular constituency worker. As I switched off he was visiting a farm and kissing a chicken. No, this is not a typo; it wasn’t the proverbial child being kissed – the candidate kissed a chicken. Continue reading
From Jane Suiter
Reformcard – the political reform scorecard developed for election 2011 – has scored all the political parties. We evaluated each Parties’ proposals in five categories of political reform – Oireachtas reform, Electoral reform, Open Government reform, Public Sector reform and Local Government reform. Details on each are set out below. Continue reading
David Farrell (February 12 2011)
In today’s Irish Times, Dermot Desmond has published a manifesto for political reform. A full (27-page) version of the document is available here. Whatever views one may have about the messenger, there is no doubt about the significance of the proposals, some of which are pretty radical. It is interesting to see the overlap with the political reform proposals we’ve already seen from some of the parties – notably the similarity with Fianna Fáil’s proposal to force government ministers to give up their Dáil seats. Continue reading
Guest post by Johnny Fallon (loaded by David Farrell, February 8 2011)
With the reform debate now all thrashed out by the parties I don’t think any of them has hit the spot for me. But rather than sit on the fence I will, as usual, pop my head up for some abuse. If I was asked to reform politics this is where I would have started.
• One of the main problems within the Irish system is that we do not have a properly functioning local government system.
• There is a lack of trust on the part of national government when it comes to delegating responsibility to councils
• There is a lack of responsibility among local councils and a lack of accountability.
• The number of councils for such a small population is far too expensive.
• There is a lack of co-ordinated planning and economies of scale
• Regional Authorities have no function in the public mind
• TD’s are seen as more powerful than a Council and therefore approached. Continue reading
The editors and contributors behind polticalreform.ie have teamed with a large volunteer team of project managers, web designers and others to produce ReformCard a measurement tool to rank each party based on the quality of their policies on political reform. We hope this will prove a critical instrument in informing the election 2011 debate. It provides the 25 proposals for political reform in Ireland which we believe provide the best possible combination to transform the political system and ensure it is fit for purpose in the 21st century. Continue reading
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.