Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

10 (relatively cheap) things that would make Irish politics work better.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 13, 2012 in Irish Politics

1. Abolish the Seanad, reduce the Dail from 158 to 120 seats, and reduce every county council to between 7 and 15 members, depending on population. We can use the money we save to fund the following:

2. Elect a full-time executive mayor and County Ombudsman in each county, paid the same salary as a TD. The mayor will have the the power to direct the county manager. The County Ombudsman will deal with social welfare issues, etc. Both are barred from seeking election to the Dail in the immediate election following their leaving office. Neither can contest Dail elections whilst in office. Civil servants will be barred by law from dealing with individual cases raised by TDs.

3. Make election manifestoes legally binding, with elected members capable of being personally sued for up to half their salary if they do not deliver on the specific promises in them. You’ll see candidates pay real attention to what goes into their manifesto.

4. Issue every voter with an annual statement as to how much they pay in tax, what they receive, and what proportion of their taxes are spent on what.

5. Allow 100,000 ratified voter signatures trigger a referendum at the next general election to amend the constitution, except on spending.

6. Introduce term limits for politicians of no more than four terms.

7. Elect the Dail based in constituencies allocated according to the month one is born. Overnight, every TD is a national TD with constituents in every city and parish in the country. Each constituency must ensure that 40% of the members elected are a different sex from the remainder.

8. Directly elect the Taoiseach and allow him/her to appoint the cabinet. Bar TDs from holding seats in Cabinet.

9. Ban All political donations, and require the Revenue Commissioners to contact every voter every year offering to make a €10 donation to the party/candidate of their choice.  

10. Merge election and referendum commissions into an independent Voter Information Agency with a statutory obligation to analyse and evaluate for accuracy party manifestos.

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