How bad is this story about Fine Gael and golf game money? Not that bad I don’t think. It’s not terribly shocking really. What’s important is Labour’s reaction. Sinn Fein, the Greens and the ULA are bound to use it as an attack method, but Labour have to be careful. This is a big “burn them or say nothing” issue. I’m sure Gilmore won’t want to be too associated with it, but I doubt he’s going to go on the attack along with the rest of the left.
Martin and Fianna Fail have given details of their planned political reforms in their newly realised manifesto (No defence or foreign affairs details). They seem to be a little late to the party on some issues, while the others are somewhat out of left field for the government. From the Irish Times:
In its manifesto to be published today, Fianna Fáil will suggest ministers should not be hampered by having to do constituency work. TDs who are chosen by the taoiseach to be members of the cabinet will be replaced by a substitute in the Dáil who would have to be named on a list published before the election.
Ministers would continue to attend the Dáil, answer questions and participate in debates, but they would not have votes in Dáil divisions. “This system would allow them to devote significantly more time to their ministerial duties,” according to the manifesto. Ministers would continue to require Dáil approval for their appointment.
I don’t like this idea. This means the government can put unelected people into the representative chamber. It also increases the size of the Dail.
Another radical change is that the Taoiseach would be allowed to nominate people who are not members of the Oireachtas to be ministers. A confirmation process would be put in place which would include “a presentation of priorities” before a committee.
Not a bad idea, though it would backfire the second an unelected Minister did something even remotely unpopular. It’s all well and good talking about putting the best qualified people into these positions, but it won’t be long before people start crowing about decisions being made by someone without any kind of popular mandate.
Fianna Fáil will propose a revamped electoral system which would see a mix of single-seat constituencies elected through single transferable votes along with a top-up national list.
Fianna Fail’s a little late to this party. This kind of system has been suggested by others already, and I doubt the serious intentions of anyway proposing it.
The party would back the introduction of measures to favour gender balance. Representatives would be elected from the list “to balance under-representation which would emerge in the constituencies”.
This issue is going to have to be tackled at some stage, and this is as good a way of doing it as has been suggested elsewhere.
Fianna Fáil would support the extension of the franchise for presidential elections to all Irish citizens, including emigrants. The party has suggested allowing candidates for the office to be nominated by petition of registered electors.
The election of the ceann comhairle by secret ballot is also proposed.
Another reform is that all legislation should be submitted for independent fiscal analysis in advance of Dáil debates, and a “regulatory oversight committee” would have expert staff available to it to assist in an ongoing review of functions.
Dáil sitting hours should be changed to those of a normal working week for most of the year.
Sure it will.
Fianna Fáil would back a constitutional amendment to extend polling in elections over two days to facilitate higher voter participation.
Not sure about this either. I worry about result creep, that is, votes cast on the first day effecting those on the second. Don’t pretend it couldn’t happen, you know how exit polls can pop up. Moreover, I’m not at all convinced this would increase turnout by a huge degree.
Fine Gael and Labour’s plans were nothing new, in that the parties have been talking about the details contained within them for a while now.
Moving on, the Green’s continue to grasp blindly for publicity, with Gormley trying to get Kenny’s vacant seat on Vincent Browne. Good grief. I wonder if Gormley might not just want to leave public office with a little dignity.
And Eamonn O’Cuiv fell asleep at the FF manifesto launch today. In his defence, he freely admitted it on Twitter, making the excuse that he was operating on four hours of sleep. I’d like to see the people jumping all over him to stay awake with that much sleep.