The Coming Storm: what will Election 2016 bring us?


At most a year out from the general election, we are beginning to see some shape to what could be the most formative election in recent memory. The 2011 election was called an ‘earthquake election’ by some political scientists because on many metrics we saw remarkable changes, it was one of the most volatile elections in post-war Europe. But it was as remarkable that such a volatile election produced such a familiar government. The Irish did what they were used to doing, kicking out a long-lasting Fianna Fáil government replacing it with a Fine Gael-Labour coalition. Continue reading

Could the call for radical Seanad reform re-ignite debate over Oireachtas reform?

Posted by David Farrell, April 13, 2015

The Report of the Working Group on Seanad Reform was published earlier today (see here). It was given a limited range of options: no change, minor change, or major change (but not involving constitutional reform). In opting for the latter the working group has defied most expectations (certainly mine), and in so doing has potentially re-opened the far more important debate over the need for radical Oireachtas reform. Continue reading

Report of the Seanad Working Group on Reform

post by Elaine Byrne 13 April 201

The report of the Seanad Working Group on Reform was published today.

It can be accessed here.

The proposals include votes for the 800,000 Irish passport holders abroad, residents in Northern Ireland and popular election.

A draft Bill will be published shortly which seeks to implement the proposals of the WG. As per the remit of the Working Group, the proposals are within the confines of the constitution and do not need a referendum.


Voice or Vote? The Central Access Scheme controversy


Post by Vanessa Liston

The controversy over the Central Access Scheme (CAS) in Kilkenny city has raised some important issues about local democracy in Ireland. One of these concerns the link between elected representatives and citizens. On the one hand those who, for different reasons oppose the scheme, claim that democracy is dead. Councilors do not represent the voices of all the people and so the system has failed. On the other hand, supporters of the scheme state that a vote on the matter in Council has been carried on numerous occasions and passed with a significant majority. Therefore the voice of the people has been heard. Continue reading

Irish Polling Indicator: Government parties bounce back a bit


Irish Polling Indicator (2012-now) showing estimates of party support with a 95% uncertainty interval

The first quarter of 2015 has seen a moderate bounce in the polls for the government coalition parties. Fine Gael was at a 22% low in December, now finds itself at 25%. Labour rose from 6% to 8% in the same time. This pattern emerges from the Irish Polling Indicator, which combines all national election polls to one estimate of the parties’ standing in the polls.

Continue reading

Where are the pots and pans? Collective responses in Ireland to neoliberalization in a time of crisis: Learning from Latin America.


Eduardo Silva

Prof. Eduardo Silva, Tulane University, this year’s Maynooth University Distinguished Visiting Scholar.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Barry Cannon and Dr. Mary P. Murphy, National University of Ireland Maynooth. This blog presents the arguments from a paper published in Irish Political Studies by the authors. Free access to the paper is available for the month of March at

One of the questions which has frequently been asked about the Irish reaction to austerity, at least until the emergence of the Right2Water Movement, was why the Irish did not protest as much as in other affected countries. To attempt to answer this question we thought it would be useful to use a framework developed by Prof. Eduardo Silva of Tulane University in his 2009 book Challenging Neoliberalism in Latin America to examine the Irish case. Silva offers a multi-dimensional framework, identifying associational power (intra-group cooperation), collective power (cross-group cooperation) and ideological power (framing and brokerage mechanisms) as key concepts to help explain successful popular mobilization against neoliberalism in the region. Applying this framework to the Irish reality, our paper provided two key findings to help answer the question posed. Continue reading

Its a Man’s World: Mediations of Women and Politics on Prime Time

women-in-politics2Posted on behalf of Dr Anne O’Brien, National University of Ireland Maynooth. This blog presents the arguments from a paper published in Irish Political Studies by the author. Free access to the paper is available for the month of March at


Media depictions of women in Irish politics are far from unproblematic. The mediated space for women on the Irish national broadcaster RTÉ’s flagship current affairs series Prime Time during General Election 2011 was structured on highly gendered terms. In the 11 episodes of election coverage, women’s engagement with politics was gendered through processes of numeric underrepresentation, gendered visual practices, the use of predominantly male sources and by structuring the content of women’s contribution to political debate. Continue reading