Reform Alliance Conference

Posted on behalf of Senator Fidelma Healy Eames

The Reform Alliance is looking for ideas on reform in advance of the conference Saturday.

The reforms will be tweeted on a big screen live throughout the sessions and we will also provide space for attendees to tweet their own ideas live on the day with #reform.

Despite some of the media depictions drawing parallels to Daniel O’Connell’s famous “Monster Meetings”, or that this is an Ard Fheis style meeting precipitating the launch of a new party, neither of these representations are accurate.

The Seven Members of the Reform Alliance, Denis Naughten TD, Billy Timmins TD, Lucinda Creighton TD, Terence Flanagan TD, Peter Matthews TD, Senator Paul Bradford and I are sponsoring the conference, but it is the audience and the panel participants who will be playing the starring rolls.

So for my colleagues and I in the Reform Alliance, the first step is to try and reach out to the Irish people who have something to say and show them that their ideas and experience are not just welcome, but necessary. This will be an open forum, where everyone is welcome and where we are genuinely interested in hearing strong reform ideas in the area of politics, health and the economy.

The ink for registering for the event @ . Currently over 800 people are registered to attend including at least over 100 third level students or members of academia.

The aim of the conference is to be as inclusive as possible and promote as many reforms as possible, so we are asking panellists to keep to a strict timeline to ensure that both members of the audience as well as contributors can have a good amount of time to speak.
Senator Fidelma Healy Eames

Conference Agenda
Politics – 10.00am – 11.30am

Chairperson: Tom McGuirk – Broadcaster, Journalist and Political Commentator


o Olivia O’Leary – Broadcaster, commentator
o Philip Blond – Author, philosopher, advisor to David Cameron
o Dr. Jane Suiter – Political Scientist , Dublin City University

Despite the many promises made by all political parties before the last general election, there has been a failure to fundamentally reform how politics works in this country. People are understandably frustrated both at the slow pace of progress and the timid reforms proposed. The defeat of the referendum to abolish the Seanad demonstrates that voters want to see meaningful changes to the system and are not content to settle for window-dressing.

The powers vested in the institutions of our democracy including the electoral system, the Oireachtas, local government, the election of the Taoiseach and ministerial appointments have largely remained unchanged since 1937. The party whip system, parliamentary committees, creation of legislation, public and civil servant accountability, lobbying, political fundraising and political culture are all the products of these institutions that have seen little change in those 70 years despite profound changes to Irish society since.

The politics strand of the Reform Conference will feature a panel of highly respected and knowledgeable experts who will engage in an open and wide-ranging conversation on meaningful reforms to how we do politics in this country and emerge with some concrete proposals to bring forward.

Coffee Break 11:30am – 12:00noon

Health 12.00 – 1.30pm

Chairperson: June Shannon – Irish Medical Times

Andrew Murphy – CEO Slainte Healthcare
Dr. Ed Walsh – Founding President of University of Limerick, Principle of Oakhampton Consultants
Dr. Pat Doorley, Specialist, Public Health
Dr Jimmy Sheehan – Surgeon, Co-founder of the Blackrock, Galway and Hermitage Clinics

In spite of the dreadful conditions many of our doctors, nurses and other frontline staff are forced to work under, the level of healthcare that these workers provide in Ireland is the envy of many countries across the western world. It is simply not right that such dedicated workers should have to work in such a poorly managed and underfunded system that will inevitably lead to reduced patient services.

In total, almost ■7 billion every year is spent on diseases created by bad diet, over use of alcohol and tobacco consumption. However the spend on preventing these self-induced illnesses for next year and beyond, does not come anywhere near proportionate to the long term cost of treating the symptoms of these illnesses.

A vibrant private health insurance sector that can fund private medicine side by side with public medicine would massively improve patient outcomes for all. Universal health insurance is an aspiration with some merit and benefit for the country, yet in order for such a regime to be a realistic proposition, a competitive health insurance market based on a fair market practice and driven by multiple competitors is the only means by which this objective can be achieved.

The health strand of the Reform Conference comprises individuals who are currently either at the coal face of delivering health services, or those who have a clear understanding of the consequences of self-induced chronic diseases.

Lunch Break 1.30pm-2.30pm

Economy – 2.30pm – 4.00pm

Chairperson: David McWilliams – Economist, Author and Public Commentator


Eddie Molloy – Management development specialist
Alison Cowzer – MD of The Company of Food, Chair of the HBan Angel Investment Food Syndicate
Brian Caulfield – Entrepreneur, Angel Investor in the tech sector

The weaknesses inherent in Ireland’s economic development over the past decade are well documented but perhaps not so well understood. Sustainable economic growth that creates long-term employment is key to the development and success of Irish society. SMEs account for more than 60% of employment in Ireland while foreign multinational investors account for just 10%.

Sustainable job creation and an enterprise driven recovery can only be achieved if we create policies that help our existing exporting businesses and encourage new ones to emerge. We must build an economy and a society that does not fall victim to the failed economic policies of the past.

The economy strand of the Reform Conference will feature leading economic experts and indigenous Irish business leaders from SME-focussed and export-driven companies who have proven credentials in creating sustainable jobs. The panel will discuss reforms that can drive, incentivise and direct the flow of credit and investment into the areas of the Irish economy that are resilient and can withstand future economic storms.

updated to correct name by Jane S

5 thoughts on “Reform Alliance Conference

  1. Who is this Paul Mathews TD; I thought it was Peter? Such a small group of insurgents and they don’t seem to know each other. Doesn’t augur well for the future – if they have any collectively.

    The confessional motivation for their insurgency doesn’t augur well either. But the real clincher is the failure to craft and present a narrative and vision – expressed in distinctive policy departures – and to attempt to persuade voters. Policy stances will be like cushions, bearing the imprint of the last voter or group of voters who sat on them. Ireland’s ‘deep state’ – comprised of the concentric and intersecting Golden Circles – will be untouched. You are looking at privileged members.

    • I don’t think so, Robert. There was an interesting mix of liberalism and progressivism in the PDs initially. But it couldn’t resolve the inherent conflicts in this mix, lost its way and was crushed by FFand FG. This effort is like an execrable Hollywood re-make of a critically acclaimed, but commercially unsuccessful, movie.

      • I really don’t know what they are trying to achieve? They are an odd bunch, at least the PD’s had a firebrand in Des O’Malley who came out swinging and called the corruption as he saw it,. However they got back into bed with CJH first chance they got? They became part and parcel of the very thing they were set up to oppose.

        Luscinda did not come out as O’Malley did, she is playing her cards differently, acting more like the bold girl, problem is, apart from not being charismatic, her policies are nondescript and uninspiring, we don’t need another version of FG. O’Malley kept talking about building “A New Republic” which he welched on of coruse. The Reform Alliance have no hint of radicalism about them. There is no Beppe Grillo about this lot nothing inspiring. There is a need for a new party but not made uf of the same old, same old.

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