TDs: Only a fifth of their workload relates to lawmaking duties…

In the wake of last night’s Second Republic debate at Leviathan, here’s another good reason to take a long look at the current democratic arrangements in the Republic are fit for purpose…

…politics at national level is not a priority for the majority of TDs. When they do contribute to national politics, 26pc of their time is spent attending Dail committees. Preparing changes to laws and speaking in the Dail accounted for just over one-fifth of their work at national level, while asking ministers questions about legislation takes up just 13pc of their time.

Okay, real dog bite man stuff, but… here’s the interesting thing.. there appears to be a real appetite for change amongst those homebird politicians…

Over 40pc of those who replied to the questionnaire believe that a new voting system should be introduced to change the way TDs are elected. It is a marked increase in the appetite for change, compared to a similar survey in 1999 when just over a quarter of TDs wanted a new system.

The preferred new means of electing TDs was a ‘mixed system’ whereby voters typically cast one vote to elect an individual TD and a separate vote for the party of choice.

It’s hardly surprising… Ireland has had floods before, and heavy snows and persistently freezing temperatures… I am sure it’s even had bridge collapses too… but there is a quiet panic inside the political classes that this lack of national focus in political life has left the country in a parlous situation that cannot be just be blamed on the parochial stupidity of council councils run by opposition parties…

May Mark will believe me now… Cut to the last ten minutes of our podcast discussion on the deleterious effects of STV PR…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

Living History 1968-74

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