Thank You.

The editors of wish to thank contributors and posters for participating in the website over the last six months. To date, over 100,000 hits have been recorded and this project continues to grow with new contributors and a greater variety of topics.

Any suggestions on how to develop the website would be most appreciated. Are there topics which we should focus more on for instance?

Watch out for some exciting developments around these parts in the New Year.

In the meantime, here’s to a politically reformed Ireland in 2011.

Elaine Byrne
David Farrell
Eoin O’Malley
Jane Suiter
Matt Wall

12 thoughts on “Thank You.

  1. Thank you all for the site and the chance to engage in an intelligent debate with people who have interesting and thought provoking and well informed points to make with no personal insults thrown in! Even if I don’t agree with some of the points, that’s the joy of a proper grown up debate.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – what an exciting year of politics 2011 will be.

  2. One of the silver linings to the many dark clouds that currently over shadow Irish democracy is the re birth of the academy as a critical voice. Political is a leading example of this change and of how information technology can be harnessed to manufacture dissent. Following the theme of more diversity in those who wield political influence I would like to see more discussion of possible alternatives to elections such as deliberative fora. I would also like more investigation of levels of civic engagement amongst groups identified as vulnerable such as older people, those with disabilities and of course children who are excluded from all forms of decision making. Thanks. Gemma carney. Nui Galway.

  3. Great work on site Elaine, Jane, Matt, Eoin and David. 100,000 hits in less than a year? Next target will be to add extra “0” to that number for 2011!!!
    Happy Christmas guys – may it be a snow-free as possible; I’m dreaming of a grey Christmas me’self!

  4. Many thanks for putting the time and effort into establishing and maintaining this excellent initiative – time and effort, I expect, that is in addition to other demanding responsibilities.

    We’ve had some limited, but very useful, exchanges with some public representatives. It would be wonderful if more were prepared to engage, but I expect it’s the usual ‘you can bring the horse to the water…’.

    Season’s Greetings to all.

  5. Great site! I think you should stick to the reform agenda as the site’s main theme. It needs a dedicated home and risks being drowned out amid the noise surrounding the general election next spring. And it will have a life after the next GE and even in the one after that…

  6. Thanks everyone, for the kind comments! Good suggestions on engagment with public reps, discussion of civic engagement fora, and keeping the theme clear.

    Thanks generally to all of the commentators on the site – as Desmond said – the tone and content of the discussions, and especially the absence of personalised insults are really laudable, and are a core part of the site’s identity.

  7. Congratulations on a very successful initiative, really looking forward to seeing your plans for 2011 unfold.

    Reading this site and listening to Elaine Byrne speak a couple of weeks back motivated me to put a short piece together directed at a a foreign audience. I hope to follow up in much more detail in the new year. Anyone who is interested can read it at opendemocracy here.

    With best wishes to all for a happy christmas and new year.

  8. Happy Christmas to all and particularly to the editorial and technical teams which make a site like this possible. As a newcomer here I am still somewhat puzzled by what the aims and objectives of the site are, how “political reform” is defined, and what editorial guidelines are applied. I do most of my blogging on the European Tribune, Booman Tribune and a href=””> Daily Kos where I enjoy the different international perspectives that can occasionally be found on Ireland and the much higher level of user participation and discussion.

    I welcome the opportunity to engage with a more specifically Irish community here and also the possibility that concrete actions may flow form our discussions here in the form of political activism, seminars, or maybe even a Political Reform led survey of voting intentions as suggested in the comments here.

    What I find disheartening is the generally low level of policy debate in Ireland as exemplified by the lack of understanding of how global economics works, how central banks can and should operate, the larger Eurozone governance issues, and how banking needs to be reformed. The totally crazy actions of the Irish Government were only possible because there was such a low level of public debate that the TINA narrative could become dominant – when just about any alternative – as articulated by Stiglitz, Krugman, or Morgan Kelly – would have been far preferable. Things have come to a sorry pass when only Sinn Fein are talking economic sense…!!!

    I appreciate that is about political reform rather than economic reform, but what the current economic crisis has highlighted is the total inadequacy of our Irish and EU political institutions to represent the common good or public interest in such discussions. Politics is not reducible to “the Markets” and yet it is the markets and their devotees who are now running this country without reference to the electorate and without a political debate that could adequately inform that electorate.

    Instead we debate the electoral chances of local worthies who may be excellent constituency workers but know nothing of running a country in a global economy and EU polity. There was a time the Universities played a more influential role in national political debate and perhaps can play a role in rectifying that situation. It is time the McCreevy, Cowen, Lenihan line of TINA neo-lib economics was challenged and true alternatives were developed.

  9. Thank you and Happy Christmas, the forum has been refreshing.

    I especially like the contribution of women writers
    and thanks to D Farrell.

    [sorry about line-breaks this year]

  10. @Frank Schnittger,

    Your strictures are relevant and, indeed, welcome. There is a tendency for those in the political science and economic disciplines (and those in the academic legal area dealing with institutions) to hunker down in their silos and to disdain cross-disciplinary initiatives. This is unfortunate when the patient, Ireland, (and the EU of which it is a member) is exhibiting multiple pathologies in the political, social and economic areas.

    But I would take issue with your apparent blanket condemnation of ‘markets’. The problem isn’t markets; it’s the forces of financial capitalism running riot and compelling ordinary citizens everywhere to pay for their mistakes. The galling thing is that they have purloined the language of free markets, competition and liberal democracy; and those who seek to craft an alternative, by tending to focus on state-driven, centralised and non-market, collectivist solutions, have left the field clear for them. Capitalists have also purloined the label ‘neo-liberal’, but it is as about as far removed from the liberalism of JS Mill and many others in the 19th century (and that of Keynes and Beveridge in the 20th) as it is possible to get.

    When capitalists demand free markets they really want free access and cot-less exit, opportunities to exercise and abuse market power and to capture unearned profits. When they demand competition and ‘light-handed’ regulation, they really want to suppress competition, to create monopolies and to be allowed to exploit physical and human resources under their control without restraint. And when they demand liberal democracy they want opportunity to subborn and subvert politicians and policy-makers to enact legislation that will protect (and, ideally, subsidise) their activities and impose the costs of their failures on the public.

    More state control and participation is not the antidote to capitalism; capitalism is confident it can subvert the state – any state. What capitalists really fear is genuine competition and effective regulation. Markets are the most effective tools we have to assemble and process economic information and to frame and permit the execution of innumerable choices. It is time for those who yearn for reform to recognise that markets aren’t the enemy; the enemy is capitalism. And, more importantly, to recognise that markets are the most effective means of shackling capitalism to force it to generate economically and socially useful outcomes.

    It is time to reclaim markets, competition, regulation and democracy from those who pervert them in their own narrow, sectional interests.

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