Post by David Farrell (July 14 2011)
Ireland is not alone in considering a reduction in the number of parliamentarians. In the UK the size of the House of Commons is to reduce from 650 to 600. In the Netherlands there is debate over possibly reducing their parliament by a third from 150 members to just 100. Similar debates are ongoing in Austria, Denmark, Hungary and Iceland. There may well be other cases.
Whether this is due to a backlash against the politicians in a moment of economic crisis or simply a realisation that parliaments needn’t be so large given modern communications is hard to tell. But it does show a very new pattern to the inexorable growth of parliaments that has characterised the trends for all postwar democracies. And in this at least Ireland is part of the new trend.