Desmond submits reform proposals
Businessmen Dermot Desmond has put forward a detailed plan for political reform to leading figures in business and political life.
'Ireland First: Political Reform -- Effective and Efficient Government' proposes major changes in the electoral system.
Mr Desmond believes that ministers should resign their Dail seats to devote themselves to the work of government and that qualified people from outside the Oireachtas should be appointed as ministers.
He also suggests cutting the number of cabinet ministers to 10 and that the Ceann Comhairle should be elected by secret ballot.
Mr Desmond also suggests the Seanad should be scrapped and the electoral system changed to end the focus on local issues.
He claims the electoral system encourages TDs to behave like county councillors, while county councillors have little control over local decisions.
"If Ireland is to prevent itself sleepwalking into another crisis in 20 years' time we must radically reform the political system to a design that puts Ireland first," the policy document says.
It also suggests that the Dail committee system and the Freedom of Information Act should be strengthened as well as the adoption of a whistleblowers' charter.
Many of the proposals in the document, which was circulated on February 1, were mirrored in Fianna Fail's election manifesto launched last Monday.