Political reform vital to Ireland’s prosperity

Green Party outlines fundamental changes to Irish political system

The Green Party has published its detailed proposals for the reform of the Irish political system, to deliver greater efficiency, accountability and transparency in Irish political life.The proposals include:

  • Reduce the number of TDs to 120 with half elected by STV in single seat constituencies
  • Elect half of TDs through a top-up list system
  • Draft a new Constitution through a Citizens’ Assembly
  • Fundamental reform of the Seanad allowing all citizens the right to vote in the election
  • New directly-elected regional authorities
  • End corporate donations

Speaking at the launch of the reform plan, Green party leader John Gormley said: “The Green party is the only party that has proposed a comprehensive political reform package across all levels of Government, from the ground up. It is only through this approach that we will get the reform necessary to fix our political system, and move away from the culture of cronyism that has bedevilled our society and was a fundamental ingredient in the economic crisis that developed.”

Dun Laoghaire TD Ciaran Cuffe welcomed the “Green makeover” of the other main parties’ proposals on political reform. “Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil have belatedly adopted many of the proposals that have been in our manifestos for successive elections,” Cuffe said. “Sensing the public appetite for reform, these parties have U-turned on eye-catching Green policies they previously opposed, such as Fine Gael’s acceptance of a ban on corporate donations just six months after dismissing the Green plan.

“However their proposals and that of the other parties amount to nothing more than a cosmetic makeover rather than the fundamental surgery required to fix our political system. They fail to get to the root of the dysfunction at the heart of Irish politics. If you reduce the number of TDs and you do not reform the way they are elected it will amount to meaningless gesture politics. Likewise, abolishing the Senate will not make politics work better in Ireland.”

John Gormley said: “You will not get rid of the culture of cronyism that has bedevilled Irish political life until the multi-seat system is dealt with once and for all, combined with a strong and accountable tier of regional Government.

“As Fine Gael and Labour now smell power, they have shown a complete unwillingness to change our voting system or to meaningfully reform local Government. Without addressing these issues, their proposals amount to an insider’s charter to maintain power for vested interests and elites. They will merely replace Fianna Fáil cronyism with Labour cronyism and Fine Gael cronyism. The thousands of families living in ghost estates and poorly planned houses because of the rezoning antics of Fine Gael and their developer friends show clearly that that party is every bit as able to line the pockets of pals at the expense of the electorate.”