Wednesday 20 September 2017

Concern at proposal for more 'outsiders'

Aine Kerr Political Correspondent

Doubts were last night cast on a Fine Gael proposal to radically overhaul the electoral system so that more outside experts like George Lee might be elected in the future.

A new party list system is under consideration by the party and is expected to feature in a major policy document to be published in the next two weeks.

Party leader Enda Kenny has argued that a partial list system will allow for the election of "a limited number of people with particular expertise gained outside of politics".

The system -- used as part of the electoral process in Scotland as well as in Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, Switzerland and New Zealand -- would see some candidates elected as TDs from party lists of individuals with a proven track record.

Under Fine Gael's proposed 'Mixed Electoral System', 12 TDs would be elected from four regions based on the European constituencies, while 134 TDs would be elected under the traditional system.

But Michael Ring, the constituency colleague of Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, said he would never support such a system which attracts more "fly by nights".

Parachuted

"Let the elected people be elected and let them take in the private guys if they need them. He (Mr Lee) was parachuted in and parachuted out," he added.

The Mayo TD further claimed that under a list system, the "super rich would be able to buy their way into the Dail".

Under the list system, seats are awarded to parties based on their share of the national vote. "I will never agree with it. I think a list system is a class system," he said.

The proposals in the document have already been outlined to the TDs and senators and centre on the creation of a "unicameral parliament" which would result in the abolition of the Seanad.

This aspect of the proposal is still expected to be met with the most resistance, namely on the part of elected senators.

Irish Independent

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