THE present government represents less than half of the Irish people. Fianna Fail, which represents around 40% of the people, have been in power almost continuously since the late 80s. This is blatantly wrong.
Dail Eireann has actually very little say in how this country is run. Executive authority is vested in the cabinet where all major decisions are taken.
Despite the claimed representative nature of our democracy, the majority of Irish people are excluded from representation at the cabinet.
What is required, of course, is representation across the board.
There are 15 seats in cabinet. In my view, each fifteenth of the population is entitled to a seat at this table. (That’s each 6.66% of the population).
To my knowledge, there are only two jurisdictions in Europe that operate in this way – Switzerland and Northern Ireland.
The rest use our archaic method of appointing those in power. If you think about it, the State is probably the only organisation in our society to conduct its affairs in this way – and it’s the most important one.
Going on the present make-up of the dail, Fianna Fail should have seven seats: Fine Gael – three: Labour – two, PDs – one, Greens – one and Sinn Fein – one. (Using a remainder system, not d’Hondt for those interested).
Now you have a cabinet that is far more representative of Irish opinion.
But there are other consequences. For one, the mad rush for the middle ground would be eliminated and those at the excluded ends of society (and opinion) could campaign for a seat in cabinet without having to jettison their principles.
It might well reverse the growing apathy about politics by distributing power more widely.
For the dail, instead of the sterile backbiting that goes on now, there could be a genuine effort to make the cabinet accountable through the committee system. Perhaps TDs would begin to use their brains and refuse to be mere voting fodder for the whips.
Most importantly, I don’t believe a law like the smoking ban could be brought in under such a system. Minority rights, diversity and the right to choose would be essential to making such a system work.
And this is the way good government should. Broadly representative while staying out of the affairs of individuals.
I can’t wait.
Dail on holiday – so what?
There has been a lot of nonsense talked over the suspension of the dail over the halloween.
Whinging, that’s what it is. Because the dail does very little useful work anyway.
All ministers do is read out answers written for them by civil servants. They could simply publish them on the internet and we’d be no worse off.
You can’t put 166 people into one room and expect anything useful to come out of it.
The committees are where the real work is done and they weren’t suspended. I don’t know what the fuss is about.