A new book on ‘the second Republic’

Posted by David Farrell (November 1, 2011)

Here’s the link for the new book by Peadar Kirby and Mary P. Murphy, entitled Towards a Second Republic: Irish Politics after the Celtic Tiger (Pluto, 2011). The blurb reads as follows:

Towards a Second Republic analyses Ireland’s economics, politics and society, drawing important lessons from its cycles of boom and bust. Peadar Kirby and Mary Murphy expose the winners and losers from the current Irish model of development and relates these distributional outcomes to the use of power by Irish elites. The authors examine the role of the EU and compare Ireland’s crisis and responses to those of other states.  More than just an analysis of the economic disaster in Ireland, the book is also a proposal to construct new and more effective institutions for the economy and society. It is a must read for students of Irish politics and political economy.

Meteors, Dinosaurs and Political Reform

David Farrell (December 20, 2010)

Political systems are very sticky. It takes a lot to uproot and alter them. This is why very few of the world’s established democracies have experienced the sort of radical reform that websites like this are calling for Ireland. The fact is that political systems are hard to change: once established the norm is to prefer the status quo.

There are instances of major change in established democracies, but they’re rare enough: France’s Fifth Republic; Italy’s reforms at the start of the 1990s; New Zealand’s new electoral system also in the early 1990s, and so on. It would be wrong to suggest that political change is common, easy to produce, or, indeed, always successful.

But it can and does happen. And what we know from previous experience is that one vitally important ingredient for change is a major political shock: a large-scale crisis that causes citizens to question the very institutions of state. The more cataclysmic the event the greater the impetus for change.

Could what we are currently going through be more cataclysmic?

Launch event: MacGill Report 2010: ‘Reforming the Republic’

Posted by David Farrell (December 8, 2010)

Based on the proceedings of the 2010 MacGill Summer School, the MacGill Report 2010 – Reforming the Republic, edited by Joe Mulholland will be launched at the MacGill Forum to be held on Thursday, December 16th at the Royal College of Surgeons, St Stephen’s Green from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.  The contents of the MacGill Report will be on the agenda and particularly the sections dealing with reforming our political and administrative systems and our industrial development and economic policies.  Contributors to the Report as well as guest speakers will lead the debate.  The Report will be available at the registration desk, price €10.

Continue reading

Citizens doing it for themselves: time for a 2nd Republic?

Posted by Kenneth McDonagh, Monday 6th December

On Saturday afternoon last, I attended the first meeting of a new grassroots movement called ‘Second Republic’. As someone who has stared forlornly from the lectern at a mere scattering of undergraduates, the very fact that up to 80 people freely gave up their time to discuss political reform on a wintry Saturday afternoon is evidence of the prevailing appetite for change. That they sustained the debate for 2 hours or more is testament to the seriousness with which this issue is viewed. Continue reading

Bailout and loss of sovereignty: time for a New Republic?

by David Farrell (November 17, 2010)

Now that the EU/IMF are en route it can only be a matter of time before the pretence that we’re not being bailed out is dropped. In due course we will learn just how painful things are about to become for each one of us. Already the economists are debating whether in the short term much will change: as Michael Breen suggested in an earlier post, we might not notice that much of a difference (at least in the short term). Continue reading

A call for debate about political renewal

David Farrell (July 17, 2010)

A letter in today’s Irish Times calls for debate about political renewal:

Madam, – Now that the members of the Dáil and Seanad have gone to the beaches and the races, discussion of public affairs moves to the summer schools, where participants listen to the great and the good in decentralised locations.

In view of the state of the country, perhaps there is a need and an opportunity for participants in at least one school to take a collective initiative by calling for renewal, outlining what it requires and suggesting how it is to be achieved.

Renewing the Republic will not occur without proposals and pressure by people who care about the common good and who are willing to speak up for radical renewal. – Yours, etc,


This sunday sees the start of a week-long summer school on that very issue. Continue reading