Elaine Byrne 3 February 2014
The European Commission published its first Anti-Corruption report today.
Information on the Eurobarometer polls and summaries of each country can be found here
The Ireland chapter is here.
The report makes a number of observations across different sectors of Irish public life. It has commended the government for the reforms it has introduced but states that more needs to be done, particularly when it comes to prosecuting corruption.
The European Commission report was written by European Commission officials from DG Home. It was researched by me with the assistance of Trinity College Dublin, Government of Ireland scholar Mark Carpenter.
Elaine Byrne 31 January 2014
An exchange between the Chair of the Standards in Public Office Commission recently the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan T.D., with regard to the draft guidelines on political finance largely went by unnoticed. Just as unnoticed were the implications of the far-reaching Electoral (Political Funding) Act 2012.
The potential effect of the Minister’s decision not to implement the Standard Commission recommendations on party finance is that Fine Gael, and the state’s other political parties, are not obliged to provided a detailed set of accounts until 2016. The cynical might suggest the timing is thus convenient – after the 2016 election.
This is my submission to the Standards Commission, based on research conducted for the IDEA index of political financing, Global Integrity report and the European Commission report on corruption in Ireland. There’s a chapter in my corruption book on political donations in Ireland spanning 1980s-2000s. The submission distinguishes between donations to political parties and individuals from (a)corporations with government contracts, (b) corporations which are actively undergoing a tender process for the procurement of public funded contracts and (c) corporations which are government owned or partially government owned. It also examines multiple donations by the same individual, the role of third parties, the difficulties around accrual v cash receipts and the capacity of the Standards Commission.
Below is my Sunday Business Post column on the implications of the political finance.
Posted on behalf of the RIA
Venue: Academy House
Date: Tuesday 4 February 2014, 11.00-18.00
Following the recent referendum in which the Irish people rejected the proposal to abolish Seanad Éireann, the question of possible directions for reform has emerged as a significant theme in discussion of political change. The aim of this discussion seminar is to place the current reform discourse in its historical context, provide an overview on the reform of second chambers internationally, and finally act as a forum in which potential proposals for the reform of Seanad Éireann can be discussed. This discussion will consider the following key elements:
The role of the Seanad
The composition of membership
The powers of the Seanad
Posted on behalf of Senator Fidelma Healy Eames
The Reform Alliance is looking for ideas on reform in advance of the conference Saturday.
The reforms will be tweeted on a big screen live throughout the sessions and we will also provide space for attendees to tweet their own ideas live on the day with #reform.
Despite some of the media depictions drawing parallels to Daniel O’Connell’s famous “Monster Meetings”, or that this is an Ard Fheis style meeting precipitating the launch of a new party, neither of these representations are accurate. Continue reading
The fallout from the Seanad referendum continues. Various groups (most prominent among them Democracy Matters), political parties (notably Fianna Fáil) and prominent individuals such as Michael McDowell are clamouring for the government to introduce legislation to allow for the direct election of the next Seanad. An editorial in today’s Irish Times makes supportive noises in the same direction, inviting the government to show some ‘flexibility’ on the matter.
To put some comparative context, the table below shows the state of play today in Europe’s 33 democracies. (I would be grateful for information on any errors that might need correcting.) As set out below, the facts speak for themselves. Were we to move to a system of directly electing our Seanad, we would be pretty much a unique case in Europe (based particularly on our small population size and the fact that we have a unitary system of government). Continue reading
Adrian Kavanagh, 9th/25th January/22nd February 2014
The trends of varying results across two polls published on the same date, as evidenced with the 26th January polls, is evident again with those to be published on 23rd February. The Sunday Business Post-Red C poll (23rd February) estimated party support levels as follows (and relative to the previous such poll): Fine Gael 29% (up 2%), Fianna Fail 22% (down 1%), Sinn Fein 16% (NC), Labour Party 11% (up 2%), Green Party 2%/Independents and Others 20% (down 3%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 37, Fine Gael 57, Sinn Fein 20, Labour 15, Green Party 1, Independents and Others 28. The Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll (23rd February) estimated party support levels as follows (and relative to the previous such poll): Fine Gael 30% (NC), Fianna Fail 19% (down 2%), Sinn Fein 18% (up 3%), Labour Party 9% (down 2%), Green Party 3%/Independents and Others 21% (NC). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 33, Fine Gael 63, Sinn Fein 24, Labour 7, Green Party 2, Independents and Others 29. Continue reading
This is the text of an article published in the Sunday Business Post 22nd December 2013
On the night of 6th December 2008 there were widespread protests against the government in Athens. In one middle class district in the centre of Athens, Exarcheia, there were confrontations with the police. Police were ordered to leave the district, but two policemen decided to stay, parked their car, and followed a group of youths. It’s not clear what happened next, but one of the policemen shot Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15 year-old boy from a wealthy family, who attended a private school. This sparked a wave of rioting throughout Greece that lasted a number of weeks.