Tuesday 12 December 2017

Leader pines for a bit of German efficiency

Fionnan Sheahan

ENVIRONMENT Minister John Gormley wants just 100 TDs in the Dail, with 50 elected directly from regular constituencies and 50 from a list.

But Mr Gormley gave no indication the Government was actually planning to make any such changes or any timelines for a reform.

The Green Party leader said he would personally favour a radical change to the way TDs are elected.

He said the system in this country lends itself to a particular type of on-the-ground politics.

Mr Gormley said the political system in other countries did not facilitate this type of activity.

"There are occasions when I envy my colleagues in the German Greens, who find it quite alien. They are in parliament to legislate," he said.

The minister said there needed to be some form of regional government, allied to the Dail reducing to 100 seats -- 50 directly elected and 50 by a list system.


He said the existing PR system could still be used in the list system to ensure those with the most votes still got elected and to avoid party apparatchiks to control who got nominated and elected.

"To my way of thinking, that is certainly the way forward," he said.

Mr Gormley also said he hopes to publish a White Paper on electoral reform before the summer.

The minister said he is currently in consultation with Fianna Fail on the proposals, with Transport Minister Noel Dempsey taking the lead role for the senior coalition partners.

"The reforms we are proposing are quite radical and politically sensitive. That is why we have to get it right," he said.

Mr Gormley said the White Paper might include reducing the voting age to 16 and the appointment of an Independent Electoral Commission.

Irish Independent

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