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.
By Michael Gallagher
Earlier this week the Minister for Justice announced proposals to amend several articles of the constitution dealing with the role of the judiciary, specifically to add a Civil Court of Appeal and a Family Court, and to reconsider the ‘one judgment rule’ in Article 26.2.2. Details in a press release of 17 July 2012:
1. Add a Civil Court of Appeal and a Family Court structure. This would reduce the load on the Supreme Court, which is responsible for a lengthy backlog of cases, and would also narrow the range of cases that reach it. Continue reading
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.
Posted by Theresa Reidy
Last week, several ministers confirmed that the children’s rights referendum will go ahead in Autumn 2013. And, we are told that Seanad abolition will go before the people in 2014. Despite the proposed referendums ahead, we have heard very little about improving the structures we use for running referendums.
Ireland has a very tightly specified framework for holding referendums. The broad terms are set out in Bunreacht na hÉireann and legislation has laid down the specifics. Perhaps more importantly, a series of court judgements have established some of the most critical elements of referendum campaigns in Ireland (Crottey, McKenna, Coughlan). A 2008 IDEA report concluded that Ireland has the most heavily regulated environment for holding referendums. The experience of several recent referendum campaigns begs the question whether this heavily regulated environment is serving Ireland well. Continue reading
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
Ben Tonra (posted by David Farrell, February 29 2012)
This referendum campaign will have a profoundly different dynamic to those that have gone before. The first point is that this is not an “EU Treaty”. As a result, and according to its own provisions, just 12 of the Eurozone member states need to ratify it before it comes into operation. Thus, unlike all previous European referenda, the rest of Europe does not depend on Irish ratification. We can say ‘no’ – 12 of the rest can say ‘yes’ and the treaty proceeds with Ireland simply left outside its provisions. Continue reading
Post by David Farrell (October 30, 2011)
The failure of the referendum on Oireachtas enquiries by 47%/53% is, to say the least, a ‘disappointment’ for the government. But is the result all that surprising? Quite apart from the intense debates over the merit of the proposal (including in a series of posts on this forum), the plain fact is that this referendum fell foul of the well-worn adage: ‘if you don’t know vote no’. It also didn’t help that citizens were not given a greater say in the process leading up the defining the referendum question: the rationale for and design of the referendum question was imposed from the top without any effort to engage with citizens in advance. Continue reading
Eoin O’Malley 24 October
The referendum on the 30th amendment – the inquiries referendum – is on the face of it something most people would want to support. It seeks to empower the Oireachtas to hold inquiries which should strengthen the government oversight function. Specifically it seeks to overturn (or render void) the decision in Maguire v. Ireland (the Abbeylara Judgement) which among other things:
“as there was no provision in the Constitution which expressly authorised the Oireachtas to conduct inquiries of the nature which had been undertaken by the Abbeylara sub-committee, any such power must be inherent or implied. Continue reading
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