Post by David Farrell (July 11 2011)
A re-reading of the Coalition Government’s Programme for Government is timely. It’s worth taking stock of the political reform proposals that have been implemented, those that are on going, and those that are (firmly) promised. There has been some undoubted progress, but a lot – a lot – still needs to be done. Continue reading
post by David Farrell (July 11, 2011)
It’s a pity that the media gave scant if any coverage to an important speech by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform at a Labour party meeting on July 2. The full text of Brendan Howlin’s speech is here. Continue reading
A topic that emerged rather unexpectedly from the We the Citizens event that I attended in June was the importance of civic education. At my table, the argument for focusing attention on this topic was that citizens need to be politically well-informed in order to understand the powers of political offices and the consequences of their political decisions.
By Jane Suiter
Writing in The Irish Times Eoin Daly of DCU argues that citizens should have access to non-sectarian public schools. While the argument is interesting in and of itself what appears to be at the heart of it is a kind of radical reform where, instead of the usual incrementalism typical of Irish public policy making, we ask what sort of system is it we want for the future and design for that. In many ways this can be applied to policy making in most government departments, where many things happen simply because they have always been done this way. Is it the case that if we are to reimagine Ireland then we need to look at all areas where vested interests have had an overly substantial input into policy making in the past? Some possible questions arising are whether our Ministers should be bound by precedent, or should they engage in radical reform? And if they do what are their chances of seeing come to fruition in the face of a possibly unenthusiastic public service?
By Jane Suiter
Political reform ran a poll here for a number of weeks, it has taken a little time to report the findings for which I apologise. We received some 485 responses to the poll with people from 16 to 65 responding from most counties across the country. These are of course not nationally representative but are probably representative of those that read this site. Some of the results make for interesting reading with unsurprisingly an appetite for political reform, some of it quite radical. Continue reading
Posted by David Farrell (May 3, 2011)
The on-going British referendum debate on whether to change their electoral system from ‘first past the post’ to the alternative vote (the system we use to elect our President) should provide some salutary lessons. Almost regardless of the outcome – which most now expect to be a safe majority against reform – the tone of the debate reveals a lot about the dangers of leaping into a reform agenda that has not been properly thought through, and also one that had little if any popular buy-in from citizens at large. The reason for the British referendum was nothing more than a sop by the Conservatives to tie the Liberal Democrats into coalition. There was no consultation with the wider public in advance: the proposal was foisted on the electorate without as much as a by your leave – the ultimate in top-down decision-making. Continue reading
By Dr Gemma Carney and Dr Clodagh Harris
For most voters a sense of déjà vu follows the publication of the Moriarty Report. It appears that relations between the then FG Minister for Communications Michael Lowry and the winner of Ireland’s second mobile phone licence were at best inappropriate. The question again arises: what can be done to clean up politics? Are there alternatives to a populist form of democracy where bad candidates get re-elected on the basis of local issues or lack of alternatives? The current recession has led to lack of legitimacy in a range of public institutions (banks, regulators, corporate sector and politicians). The idea that political reform is necessary is accepted. How reform is achieved is another matter. Deliberative processes may be one way through which this can be achieved. Continue reading
NOTES ON PROPOSALS FOR POLITICAL REFORM MADE AT SEMINAR OF THE IRISH PARLIAMENTARY (FORMER MEMBERS) SOCIETY HELD IN THE DAIL CHAMBER ON FRIDAY JANUARY 21ST 2011.
Posted on behalf of Gemma Hussey by David Farrell (March 2, 2011)
1. A draft of expenditure proposals in the Budget should be published six weeks in advance with a view to an open debate on the Government’s proposals.
2. The powers of the Public Accounts Committee should be extended to enable it to check for effectiveness, viz performance versus promise. The Committee should be empowered to require the attendance of Ministers. Continue reading
Eoin O’Malley (7 February, 2011)
Usually the preserve of academics and the dull newspaper articles of retired politicians, the reform of the political system is now being raised by ordinary people in vox pops and radio phone-ins. That means that many people are peddling their ideas about the reform of the political system that on the face of it seem valid, but if you scratch a bit below the surface are revealed to be irrelevant or wrong. Continue reading
Guest Post By Daniel Sullivan
In this piece, I’m going to try to outline two of the problems in how the electoral system currently functions, coupled with some of the practical realities that accompany them, and then suggest two forms of electoral change that would actually address those problems. These problems and from which almost all others, in my view, stem is a lack of real diversity being offered to the electorate in our parliamentary and local administrative elections and a surfeit of clientelism. Continue reading