Electoral reform to increase female representation

Liam Weeks* It is widely recognised that adoption of a (closed) list electoral system would give political parties the power to increase the number of women in the Dáil. Women could be placed at the top of each party’s list of candidates, thus guaranteeing their election. However, if we are to see electoral reform, it…

Election 2011 and transfers

Liam Weeks* Since 2011 may be the last general election by PR-STV in Ireland (if some of the political parties get their way), it is worth looking at the value of the transferable nature of the vote. This is one particular feature that makes STV so voter-friendly and yet its value is sometimes dismissed by…

Policy Advisers: who are they and what do they do?

Liam Weeks* Micheál Martin recently suggested that the government should pay more attention to experts outside of the political process in formulating its strategy. But what about the paid experts already brought in from the ‘outside’ to advise the government? I am referring to the special advisers of every minister and minister of state. Who…

Are independents a danger to democracy?

Liam Weeks* Recent media reports of the voting intentions of independent TDs re-the Finance Bill seem to imply that independents undermine the stability of Irish democracy. The claim is that Jackie Healy-Rae, Michael Lowry et al are acting selfishly by not voting in favour of the Finance Bill or by attempting to extract promises from…

Is the only truly new Dáil an independent Dáil ?

Liam Weeks* Reading the calls for reform from afar, there seems to be one overarching theme: a desire to improve the calibre of parliamentarians. To date, most of these calls have been misguided as many from outside the political science community persist with the notion of electoral reform as a panacea that will transform the…

What Labour needs to be in the frame for 50 seats

Liam Weeks Given the recent analysis on this site and in the media (see RTE’s Late Debate from 23 June) on Labour’s potential performance at the next election, I have analysed the results from 2007 to see what Labour needs to do to win 50 seats, a figure that has been suggested in some quarters.

The value of independent parliamentarians

Liam Weeks The current government parties have 77 seats. The combined opposition of Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin have 75 seats. The balance of power in the Dáil is thus held by the 10 independent TDs, who include 2 ex-PDs, 4 former FF TDs (one of whom has resigned from the party), one FF…