Michael Martin is calling here for the introduction of the Alternative Vote, or as he calls it “Single Seat PR”. I’m afraid that the minister, whom I respect, is either being disingenuous or does not plain understand what he is suggesting. There is no such thing as “Single Seat PR”. AV would allow for a single TD to be elected by a majority, but it would wipe out small parties, including, according to current polls, Fianna Fail. In fact, under AV, I suspect in the 2011 election FF would absolutely struggle to win seats.
Maybe he is being very far-sighted, assuming that AV will come in when FF are in opposition, and would thus help them as they recover. Perhaps. But whereas AV is an improvement on the shockingly ridiculous First Past The Post system currently used in the UK, in Ireland, AV without an accompanying list system to ensure proportionality would be a threat to Irish democracy.