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ang
07-01-2011, 12:31 AM
The Labour party have published a major policy paper on political reform which commits the party to setting up a constitutional convention soon after entering government.


The convention would be made up a 90 people drawn comprised of 30 Oireachtas members; 30 lawyers, specialists, and academics; and 30 ordinary citizens, drawn randomly in the same way a jury is selected.

“The mandate would be to review the Constitution and draft a reformed one with a year,” states the paper.

Launching New Government, Better Government , party leader Eamon Gilmore gave an undertaking that a referendum would be held as soon as possible after the new draft constitution was completed, certainly within the lifetime of the Dáil.

“It is very important that there is a target date and timetable. These things can drag on if you do not set a deadline to prodouce the report.”

The future of the Seanad would be one of the issues deliberated by the convention. But the paper also disclosed that the party’s new policy is to abolish the upper house.

“In our view, the case for the retention of Seanad Éireann has failed,” it states.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0106/breaking53.html

Link to the policy paper "New Government, Better Government" which contains a total of 140 recommendations on changing government, parliament, political governance and regulation, and the public service:-

http://www.irishtimes.com/focus/2011/labour/index.pdf?via=rel

C. Flower
07-01-2011, 12:42 AM
My feeling about all the proposals for political and Constitutional reform is that they won't be worth a damn unless the basis on which they rest have been completely overturned and cleaned out - from the foundations up. Otherwise, it's just a lick of paint on the same old failed thing.

PaddyJoe
07-01-2011, 12:48 AM
I'd like to see Joan Burton as Finance Minister. Will it happen?

ThomasB
07-01-2011, 12:54 AM
IMHO th 30 random shouldbe less random and should be drawn from voluntary organisations etc,

Random just leaves things to chance, surely such a task should not be left to chance

TotalMayhem
07-01-2011, 01:05 AM
IMHO th 30 random shouldbe less random and should be drawn from voluntary organisations etc,

Random just leaves things to chance, surely such a task should not be left to chance

They shouldn't be drawn from anywhere, certainly not from the Oireachtas, Lawyers, whoever Labour deems to be a 'specialist' or anything 'establishment' for that matter.

The Icelanders have got it right (once again), they have elected their constitutional assembly.


I'd like to see Joan Burton as Finance Minister. Will it happen?

Honestly? No!

ThomasB
07-01-2011, 02:08 AM
They shouldn't be drawn from anywhere, certainly not from the Oireachtas, Lawyers, whoever Labour deems to be a 'specialist' or anything 'establishment' for that matter.

The Icelanders have got it right (once again), they have elected their constitutional assembly.


No real issue with that !

Count Bobulescu
07-01-2011, 08:37 AM
My feeling about all the proposals for political and Constitutional reform is that they won't be worth a damn unless the basis on which they rest has been completely overturned and cleaned out - from the foundations up. Otherwise, it's just a lick of paint on the same old failed thing.

Agree, the proposed constitutional reforms while welcome do not go far enough, and risk death by a thousand cuts. A completely new document oriented to the future would be preferable. The link below to a “model” US “state” constitution may not be exactly appropriate for Ireland, but a few additions and deletions would get you there. KISS Keep It Simple Stupid.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_state_constitution

ang
07-01-2011, 01:40 PM
I think we need to pull down the political system including digging out the foundations and start all over again.

It's like Cactus said a lick of paint just won't be enough.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
07-01-2011, 01:57 PM
I note the suggestion for a constitutional convention including 30 lawyers and 30 members of the public.

I fail to see why the legal profession should be given an effective block vote over citizens. Any constitutional convention should not be rigged from the start by blockvoting from vested interest groups.

Lawyers can be used to draft any proposal coming out of the convention. Thats what they are for.

Its worth pointing out that the current joke of a constitution was constructed and amended in the main by lawyers. I fail to see why they should be overrepresented as a profession.

There's a danger of course that the 30 members of the public will end up being appointed as party hacks or we'd end up with 30 teachers and in fairness as we've seen with the current nonsense there's no justification for assuming a bunch of teachers and 30 lawyers can come up with anything remotely like an agreement between government and electorate.

In fact there's a fair amount of evidence tos ay it would be wise to limit the representation of both professions. They've more than had their attempt.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
07-01-2011, 01:59 PM
That proposal smells a bit like Tony Blair's 'People's Peers' when House of Lords reform was on the cards in the UK.

Inevitably the nominees for 'people's peers' were Labour Party hacks.

whydontwe
07-01-2011, 02:23 PM
My feeling about all the proposals for political and Constitutional reform is that they won't be worth a damn unless the basis on which they rest have been completely overturned and cleaned out - from the foundations up. Otherwise, it's just a lick of paint on the same old failed thing.

Correct CF...my thought is that...more and more...there will have to be a referendum on a totally new constitution; such constitution should be proposed by all prospective T.D.s/parties before any election. In this constitution...If they don't encompass radical reduction in representatives (in dail/councils etc) plus radical (retrospective) reductions in pensions/wages of these 'so-called' civil-servants etc...then any who vote for them are accepting the same retrograde idiots to rule this benighted kip of a country!

Captain Con O'Sullivan
07-01-2011, 03:02 PM
Above all we need in any discussion of a new constitution to ensure that vested interests such as the legal profession or teachers or whatever cosy club that have looked after themselves in the past do not get a chance to reimpose their vested interests.

Ireland has already been well served by lawyers and teachers. There may have been some reason back when illiteracy rates among the general population were high for these two professions to pretend to represent the people but that old chestnut is long rotted in the ground.

No one can claim that the Oireachtas has been overburdened with intellect in the last twenty or thirty years. Plenty of lawyers and teachers does not ensure an intelligent product.

ModestMouse
07-01-2011, 09:16 PM
Above all we need in any discussion of a new constitution to ensure that vested interests such as the legal profession or teachers or whatever cosy club that have looked after themselves in the past do not get a chance to reimpose their vested interests.....Plenty of lawyers and teachers does not ensure an intelligent product.

I fully agree, good post. Perhaps we should demand that 25% of the panel be made up of people living in poverty to reflect the social reality of the nation.

Not much chance of that happening as you well know. Poor people having a say in our constitution??? Whatever will the riff-raff think of next?

antiestablishmentarian
08-01-2011, 10:56 AM
Changing the constitution won't do that much. Lest we forget, since its inception in 1937, the Bunreacht has been amended almost as many times as the US constitution has been in its history, and very little has changed in the way the gombín state functions as a result. I'm not against constitutional reform per se such as abolition of the Seanad or the Presidency, but I'd caution people against putting too much faith in it.