Statement on proposed Constitutional Convention « Second Republic — An Dara Poblacht

There is a danger that the 33 politicians on the Convention, with their specific agendas and vastly greater experience and supports, will have undue influence on the 66 randomly appointed ordinary citizens. The issue of support for these 66 members with varying educational backgrounds, knowledge of politics and levels of IT experience is not adequately stressed in the Cabinet’s proposal.

www.2nd-republic.ie

Second Republic believes that the Government are taking the first step towards deliberative democracy, with the proposed Constitutional Convention, but the proposal is flawed, with not enough resources allocated to make it viable.

The terms of reference of the Constitutional Convention recently issued to the Opposition are in need of refinement on several points. Despite promises in the Programme for Government of “a real shift in power from the State to the citizen” the Convention’s final amendment proposals will not be binding on Cabinet and could be shelved for reasons of political expediency. Without a commitment by Cabinet to put proposals of the Convention directly to the people in a referendum it will lack credibility.

There is nothing in the Convention’s terms of reference to ensure the introduction of checks and balances to limit the scope for excess by those in power – be they public or private, elected or appointed. This is essential to prevent another national disaster.

“We in Second Republic believe that it is the people of Ireland who should develop and decide political reform,” said Bronagh Geraghty, chairperson of Second Republic.  “It is time to end the child/parent relationship of the citizen with our patronising political system and to take back the true meaning of democracy by involving people in decision-making.”

The Convention’s agenda of eight unconnected,

yet individually important issues, is clearly too narrow. The electoral system is the only substantial item of political reform on its agenda. Changes to the electoral system on its own will not result in any fundamental reforms to a dysfunctional political system.

The Taoiseach has ruled out any deliberation by the Convention on retention or abolition of the Seanad. Given that the Seanad is a fundamental pillar of the Constitution, this limitation of the Convention’s agenda is not logical. Until a referendum on the Seanad takes place any review of the Irish Constitution is severely impeded.

There is a danger that the 33 politicians on the Convention, with their specific agendas and vastly greater experience and supports, will have undue influence on the 66 randomly appointed ordinary citizens. The issue of support for these 66 members with varying educational backgrounds, knowledge of politics and levels of IT experience is not adequately stressed in the Cabinet’s proposal.

“Transparency and prior consultation with the general public, civic society groups etc. regarding the membership, agenda and structure of the Convention will be essential to gaining the trust of the people in the work of the Convention,” continued Geraghty.

There are some excellent points in the proposal and Second Republic welcomes the invitation to all Northern Irish political parties to nominate members onto the Convention. The planned provision of online IT facilities to encourage involvement by Irish people at home and abroad is another significant initiative.

Second Republic urges the government to do the right thing and rid Irish citizens of the shackles of bad governance once and for all.

(Second Republic is a voluntary civic society group which focuses on renewal through political reform.)

For further information, please contact:

Bronagh Geraghty, chairperson, Second Republic

Telephone: 0860894731 Telephone: 0860894731
Email: info@2nd-republic.ie

 

POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  Debate Ireland

 
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About Kevin Meehan

About Me I studied for six months training and became certified in Exam 070-271 in May 2010 and shortly after that became certifed in Exam 070-272. I scored highly in both Exams and hope to upgrade my path to M.C.S.A. ( Server Administrator ) in the near future.I also hold Level 2 Qualifications in three subjects Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint and Microsoft Spreedsheets. I have also expereance with Web Design using Microsoft Front-Page.

Posted on June 9, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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