GRECO Report on Corruption in Ireland

Elaine Byrne 21/11/14

The Council of Europe (GRECO) today published it’s fourth evaluation round report on corruption in Ireland. Corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors  contains eleven recommendations.

The recommendations are a timely intervention into the debate on political reform – much of which campaigners for reform have been advocating for some time. No surprises here – the strong focus on judges pay is interesting though. Much of it is echoes the European Commission report on corruption in Ireland published earlier this year.


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Is Sinn Féin the biggest party according to new poll? No, no, no


A new poll by Millward Brown came out this weekend, with headline figures of 26% for Sinn Féin and 22% for Fine Gael. This let many news outlets to conclude that Sinn Féin is now the biggest party in the Republic. But this conclusion cannot be drawn from the Millward Brown poll, based on 991 respondents.

First, the difference between Sinn Féin and Fine Gael falls within the margin of error of the poll. While the reported margin of error is 3.1%, this is the margin for any single party. If we calculate the margin of error for the difference between two parties, we find that it is 4.3%. That is just slightly bigger than the 4% gap. This means that even if there was no difference between the two parties among all likely voters, there is more than a 5% probability that a poll of 991 people* finds a difference between SF and FG of 4% or more. Just because of the people that randomly end up being surveyed. This is generally considered inadequate to base firm conclusions on.

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Workshop Announcement: Election Institutions and Electoral Integrity

Mayo BallotElection Institutions and Electoral Integrity

16 October 2014

NUI Merrion Square

All Welcome. Please email to confirm attendance (for catering purposes).


10.00 – 11.15              Evaluating Electoral Institutions and Administration

Andrew Reynolds, (University of North Carolina) (co-authors: Jorgen Elklit and Pippa Norris)

Why Electoral Integrity Matters: Measurement and Consequences

Carolien VanHam (University of Twente) (co-author: Sarah Birch)

Getting away with foul play? How oversight institutions strengthen election integrity. Continue reading

We were away….we’re back!

Many of you have noticed that has been down since July. I’d like to say that it was in preparation of a major relaunch, but it wasn’t. It was a failure of too many people involved in running the site, and none of us taking responsibility. A catalogue of unpaid bills, misunderstandings and amateurism meant it took longer than it should have to get back up and running. We’re back now!

Good news for Fine Gael and Sinn Fein: Constituency-level analysis of the Sunday Business Post-Red C poll (14th September 2014)

Originally posted on Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses:

Adrian Kavanagh, 13th September 2014 (still being updated!)

The latest in the series of Red C polls has brought good news especially for Fine Gael and Sinn Fein. While Labour sees a one percentage point increase in the party’s poll levels, this is well off the levels of increase observed in last months’ Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll. There is a notable fall in support levels for the Independents and Others grouping, while Fianna Fail support levels remain unchanged at a disappointing 18% level although that party seems to perform better in actual electoral contests than they have been in opinion polls. The latest Sunday Business Post-Red C poll estimates party support levels as follows (and relative to the previous Sunday Business Post-Red C poll ): Fine Gael 28% (up 3%), Sinn Fein 23% (up 1%), Fianna Fail 18% (NC), Labour Party 8% (up 1%), Independents, Green Party and Others 23% (down 5%). My…

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Posted on behalf of the Royal Irish Academy


Royal Irish Academy Discourse: ‘International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics’ by Professor Richard Bellamy

University of Limerick, 6 June 2014 at 18:00

We are pleased to invite you to attend a Royal Irish Academy Discourse by Professor Richard Bellamy (European University Institute), with a response by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, entitled ‘International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics’. This Discourse will take place in the Graduate Entry Medical School Lecture Theatre at the University of Limerick, on 6 June at 18:00. This event is being held under the auspices of the President of Ireland Ethics Initiative and in association with the Limerick City of Culture 2014.
For any queries regarding this Discourse please contact
Attendance is free but early booking is advised.

Minor Shuffling in the North’s European Election

Posted on behalf of Gerard McCann and Paul Hainsworth

This blog builds upon a series of reports on the European Parliament elections in Northern Ireland by the authors. Previous reports are available free online in a virtual issue of Irish Political Studies on Local and European Parliament elections

As expected with the European elections in Northern Ireland, the traditional cultural and political fault lines have appeared as forcefully as ever with the expectation being that Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party will take two of the three seats and the bulk of the votes. This election – together with the Local Council elections this time round – has given the population of the North another opportunity to restate their entrenchment on the constitutional issue.The nationalist vote has the additional interest of the possibility of Alex Attwood of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) succeeding the Unionist Party’s long standing MEP Jim Nicholson. The possibility of having a two-thirds bloc from the nationalist community representing the people of Northern Ireland in Brussels has however caused some disquiet within the unionist camp. The DUP have rallied around their candidate Diane Dodds with the call not to split the unionist vote. This strategy is an attempt to ensure the seat of the Ulster Unionist candidate. Continue reading