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.
The group agreed to pursue a Pledge campaign for the forthcoming election campaign. The group will ask all candidates to sign a pledge to establish a National Convention to examine the issue of political reform and to be bound to implement the findings of that convention or to put those findings to referendum as required.
Although few in the room felt that the pledge campaign alone would result in major political change, it was felt that it represented a starting point for a longer campaign for political reform. The group is taking an ecumenical approach to reform, aiming to create momentum for reform to take place rather than demanding specific reforms.
The Pledge initiative and the campaigns that follow are a welcome sign of engagement by citizens at this crucial juncture in Irish politics. More information, including a video of the meeting, can be found at http://www.2nd-republic.ie