The Quinn/ Zappone Bill – a fundamentally flawed measure

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Post by Richard Humphreys SC

In order to offer a ‘workable’ reform that they claim could be on the statute books by Christmas the Quinn/ Zapponne Seanad Reform Bill makes a lot of compromises. Due to the constitutional limitations on what can and cannot be changed by an ordinary bill, the Zappone/Quinn Bill leaves in place a number of key features of the current system that are elitist or irrelevant. Continue reading

Research on Reasons Behind Voter Behaviour in the Oireachtas Inquiry Referendum 2011

From Jane Suiter

A group of us including Professor Michael Marsh, Dr Theresa Reidy and I along with Red C were commissioned to undertake research following the referendums in November with a view to learning lessons for future referendum campaigns. The report is here and the presentation given to the Oireachtas Committee on Investigations, Oversight and Petitions yesterday. here. Continue reading

The role of the President

By Jane Suiter

The Irish Times today editorialises on the role of the Presidency.  It raises the issues of an expansion of powers of the presidency pointing out that the “President has clear constitutional obligations and duties, few independent functions and can act only on the advice of the government. In 1973, Erskine Childers, in announcing his candidature for the Presidency, made it clear that he wished to expand “the dimension and character” of the office. However his sudden death after two years in office, and the lack of enthusiasm shown by the government for a more independent minded President, meant little progress was made towards that goal”. This is still the case.

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Reformcard first scores

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

ReformCard: a tool to help voters decide

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

Why can’t our emigrants vote?

David Farrell (September 22 2010)

With so many of our citizens fleeing the country — many of them against their will — and so many of them ending up disenfranchised residents in foreign lands, why should we add insult to injury be denying them a say over affairs at home?

The scourge of mass emigration — that age old pressure valve so beloved of Irish policy-makers — has returned. According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in the period from 2006-10 emigration mushroomed by a massive 81%; bringing net outward migration from Ireland to its highest level since the late 1980s.   Continue reading

Australia’s electoral administration shows up shortcomings in Irish system

1.8 million Australian voters used the ‘early voting’ facility provided by the Australian electoral commission in the three weeks before today’s election to cast their votes, a record number. The Australians also have facilities for voting if a citizen happens to be outside of the electoral district in which they are registered on the day of the election. Simply put, Australia makes it much easier for its citizens to vote than Ireland does. This is partly because voting is compulsory in Australia, but their approach to making voting as easy as possible for their citizens should inspire Irish electoral administrators to similar efforts.  

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Votes for emigrants?

David Farrell (July 29, 2010)

A letter in today’s Irish Times makes the case for votes for emigrants:

Madam, – As it is now agreed 1, that political and administrative corruption rots (our) society from the inside; 2, that root and branch reform is needed and 3, that we should look to the Irish diaspora (viz Farmleigh) for help with our problems I suggest the following: Take our courage in our hands and follow the example of Australia, the USA and Britain et al and extend the voting franchise to our emigrants.
They have been so far denied this right precisely because their vote can certainly not be bought and must effect a sea change in our cosy, nepotistic, self-interested and failed political system. – Yours, etc,
BOB QUINN

The correspondent in correct in noting that other countries grant overseas voting rights. As reported in the newspapers only a few days ago, Ireland is once again top of the class in the EU for the numbers of people emigrating in search of work, many of these Irish citizens. Should we add insult to injury in denying them a voice?