Although I disagree pretty much with most of what she espouses, I think Saoirse McHugh has generally added to the level of political debate in the country.
It is easy to dismiss her as a failed candidate, but speaking as a failed candidate myself, who got a mere fraction of the votes she got, I'd hope electoral defeat doesn't banish one to opinion exile forever.
She does tend to be a bit vague about what she is espousing, but at times she descends almost into philosophy on the meaning of Irish democracy itself.
This is not a bad thing, especially when you consider what sometimes passes for political differences between some parties today.
Take this week, where the big divide between our two major governing parties is over which one has the more ripped silver foxes capable of giving heart palpitations to the desperate housewives of Howth.
Having someone ask about the nature of our democratic system is always a debate worth having.
Where I part company is when you dismiss electoral politics as not working but don't propose a detailed alternative, because that act in itself creates a dangerous vacuum.
You can't demolish an existing establishment unless you have a clear idea what to replace it with, and I'm not sure Saoirse does.
We should also never forget that one of the primary purposes of democratic government is not to guarantee us good government.
God knows we've missed that particular turn-off many a time.
The primary purpose of democracy, primarily through the form of elections, is to act as a bulwark against tyranny.
To watch our leaders start designing their own uniforms or naming the days of the week after their horse and decide "right, we've had enough of this lad" and turf him out on his electoral ear.
It's not without flaws but it beats having to storm a presidential palace, drag the fecker out and put him up against a wall.
As PJ Mara once apparently said when watching Ceaușescu and his wife suffer that very fate in Romania on the telly: "Jaysus, weren't we terribly kind to Garrett and Joan."
The false golden calf at the heart of the 'elections don't work' argument is that there is somewhere an authentic 'Voice of the People', which if only we listened to it would bring us to a land of lavender, honey, high social welfare payments and low taxes.
Is there a voice of the people? Is there a body of opinion that represents the majority mainstream opinion of the populace?
There may well be, but it becomes less unified and collected the more you look for detail on how to deliver it. Yes, then people do want a world-class health service, but get them to agree on where the limited number of world-class regional hospitals should be located and it descends into a cacophony of chaos and county.
Some have suggested that Citizens' Assemblies have a role, as the pure voice of the people uncontaminated by the prism of elections and dirty politicians. That's all well and good until you have to draft the criteria as to who should be on them and how do you make them representative?
Based on county, or population, or urban and rural, or gender, or colour, or religion, or sexual orientation? Every additional criteria will cause a row, with some of the people even seeing the fact that other people are on it as a sign that it's a liberal elite and not the voice of the "real people".
What happens when an assembly decides to propose something you don't like, such as joining Nato or buying 40 Eurofighters or building a nuclear reactor? How do you stop it without elections? Does it have the power to legislate itself?
There are referendums, of course, and they're grand on the big picture. But how did you vote on the children's rights referendum? Because two-thirds of us didn't even bother, and that was on a subject most people have opinions on.
How do you think Sean and Mary Citizen will react to being asked to vote on food additive regulations or whether we open a consulate in Sao Paulo? You know what will happen: what happens in California. Turnout will plummet and the process will be hijacked by vested interests setting up fake citizens' campaigns to push through stuff they want on a 7pc turnout.
Or hyper-local demands for stadiums and children's hospitals funded by the taxpayer in every parish in the country, where only the people in county X bother to vote for the Michael Healy-Rae International Air and Spaceport.
The fact is that electoral politics is not just the voice of the people, but also the restraining hand on the shoulder, the constitutional "Careful, now!"
If you don't like what's on the ballot, put yourself on it, and go out and convince your fellow citizens. To her credit, Saoirse McHugh has done that and never disgraced herself either in terms of votes won. She was eliminated in Mayo with more than 6,000 votes, and more than 60,000 in the European elections.
By any reasonable standards, those are very respectable vote hauls. In fact, whisper it: Saoirse McHugh is, by metric of votes won, not actually too bad at this electoral thing. Perhaps she should reconsider under a new political label.