Has the Co-option system passed its sell by date?

I was on Evening Extra yesterday (40 mins in) with the former Communications Director, Ruairi O’Kane debating the virtues of co-option.  Before this term is out, we will have two more new faces in Stormont as Peter Robinson and Pat Ramsey depart the Assembly this month.

Here I have to declare that, I have never been a fan of co-options. I feel they take power from voters and hand them to party managers and simply breeds this notion that seats belong to parties, rather than the people.

In a multi-member constituency, I know there are arguments for maintaining what people voted for on election day, but like a true political nerd, I like voting, I like the ritual of choosing my public representatives and for me co-option takes an element of that process out of my hands for a period.

What boggles my mind most is that in Northern Ireland we have a major democratic deficit and are content to fuel that with this system, which is now being abused by some parties.

Anyway, have a listen to the debate and I would be keen to hear your thoughts.

Further information on this can be found in a report by The Detail on this issue.



David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

donate to keep slugger lit