Would a reformed Seanad be the worst outcome of all?

By Michael Gallagher Never in its history has the Seanad been the focus of so much attention. Is it a vital bastion of democracy without which governments would be able to trample all over everyone’s rights, or conversely an expensive anachronism draining resources that could make a huge difference elsewhere? Probably neither. It does a…

Should we be able to recall our TDs?

By Michael Gallagher Recall of elected representatives occasionally surfaces in discussions of political reform, and has been given topicality by the adverse publicity surrounding the Wexford TD Mick Wallace and his tax affairs. It also arose last month (June 2012) in the US state of Wisconsin, where attempts, ultimately unsuccessful, by local Democrats to pull…

What happens if a president goes rogue?

By Michael Gallagher The question of a presidential attempt to refer, delay, or even veto bills that he or she does not like has surfaced a couple of times during the campaign so far. First, Mary Davis seemed to suggest that she would not rule out referring a budget to the Supreme Court for a…

Should Fianna Fáil run a presidential candidate?

By Michael Gallagher FF has got itself into something of a tangle over the presidential election. Torn between a range of options that seems to proliferate all the time – run its own candidate, facilitate a FF member to run as an independent, facilitate any independent who requires signatures to secure a nomination, allow each…

A looming constitutional crisis?

By Michael Gallagher There has been some discussion as to whether, in the event of Brian Cowen’s deciding not to contest the forthcoming election, it would be constitutional for him to remain as Taoiseach, given that the constitution states (Art 28.7.1) that the Taoiseach must be a member of Dáil Éireann. There has been speculation…

Abolishing the Seanad

By Michael Gallagher Like most contributors to the site, I’m unconvinced by what little rationale has so far been offered for the abolition of the Seanad. First, no-one has seriously, or even flippantly, suggested that bicameralism is the cause of the current economic difficulties. Just what is the problem that abolition of the Seanad is…