Dáil debates

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Advice to Dissolve Dáil: Announcement


2:30 pm

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)

We reduced ministerial salaries. We stopped ministerial pensions going to sitting Deputies. We reduced expenses and the number of civil servants working in Ministers' offices. These are all necessary and such a programme of reform should continue.

As we leave this House to participate in a general election, we must ask ourselves the fundamental question, "What more must be done in terms of political reform?" It is clear that the political and electoral systems have not served the people of this country well. Let us be honest, when we reflect that young people had to emigrate from this country in 1950s and in the 1980s when I myself had to leave, and now again when we see so many people facing the pain of unemployment and emigration, we must ask ourselves if the political institutions and our electoral system have served the people well and can we do better? The answer, of course, is "Yes". This time of crisis offers us an opportunity to debate these issues and in the electoral competition which will now take place we have such an opportunity.

It is time for a new electoral system in this country, where we would have a reduced Dáil of perhaps 120 Members, with 60 being elected from single seat constituencies and 60 being elected from what is called a "list system". That would be the best way froward. It serves the people of other countries well and it would serve us well. We could draw on a pool of expertise and we could have more women participating in politics. That is the way forward. It is the type of radical reform that is now required as we enter this election. I hope-----


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