Fine Gael’s reform proposals c. 1985

Here’s a link to Fine Gael’s reform proposals in 1985. It was pretty limited in ambition, but interestingly most of what they debated was introduced and to little effect. Presumably at the time these were thought to be somewhat radical. Which may go to show that changes don’t always have the effects we expect.

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2 thoughts on “Fine Gael’s reform proposals c. 1985

  1. This is probably a salutary reminder that, unless the “tyranny of faction” is reduced and minimised and the power of the party whips is broken, any other reform of the Oireachtas is likely to prove ineffective. A sitting government will have no incentive to reduce any control it exercises over the “faction” that voted it into, and maintains it in, power. Similarly, a “government-in-waiting” will face the same incentives – or lack of them.

    If the political classes are the primary movers of political reform, it will require genuine cross-party (or cross-faction) co-operation to effect any meaningful change. Does anyone really believe that this will happen?

    I fear that any discussion of political reform is a futile and frustrating exercise.

  2. I’m not sure if those parliamentary reforms brought in by that FG/Labour coalition government can be dismissed so easily. The main area of parliamentary reform proposed by that administration seems to have been in relation to the introduction of a committee system, as I think up to that point only the PAC, the Joint Committee on Secondary Legislation of the European Communities and the Seanad Select Committee on Statutory Instruments were the only non-administrative parliamentary committees in existence across parliamentary sessions.

    While the committee system introduced by the FG/Lab coalition seems to have been rather unfocused and although the intention was clearly there that the committee system was to be institutionalised, I don’t think the further reforms of the FF/Lab coalition would have been done without those parliamentary reforms in the 1980s. I would suggest that the committee system has had a significant impact in terms of the work that parliamentarians carry out, the areas of policy and administration that the Oireachtas can and does looks at and the range of external bodies which now interact with the Oireachtas. The impact of parliamentary committees on government policy and legislation may not be massive or particularly obvious, but the regular march of NGOs, business representative groups, trade unions and so on seeking to present at committee meetings would suggest there is a value to them.

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