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 3/31/2012 11:05 AM
 Modified By host  on 3/31/2012 11:07:49 AM
So here we have an article saying that people are disconnected from their politicians.

Gee maybe this could be that when a judge commits a crime against a man and he goes to the police, then the politicians, then the prime minister and president and then THE WHOLE PARLIAMENT he gets TOTALLY IGNORED and MORE CRIMINAL ACTS ARE COMMITTED AGAINST HIM!!! LOL!!!

And far from coming from a poorer area I lived in DALKEY and GLENAGEARY and paid rent of EUR2,200 per month and had my kids in private schools and earned EUR220,000 in FOREIGN INCOME in 2006 and paid EUR110,000 in taxes in 2006-07.

Maybe the reason people have no faith in Irish Politicians and the political process is BECAUSE YOU ARE A BUNCH OF CRIMINALS!!!!


And what is the profession of this CRIMINAL SCUMBAG? Oh, surprise, surprise, he is ANOTHER SOLICITOR!!!

Making politics matter – to all

Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue TD reflects on the challenge to make politics more engaging and accessible

Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue

I AM delighted to welcome you to this special Houses of the Oireachtas commemorative publication.

At a “monster meeting” in Drogheda in June 1843, the Great Liberator Daniel O’Connell said: “I want to make all Europe and America know it – I want to make England feel her weakness if she refuses to give the justice we the Irish require – the restoration of our domestic parliament.”

In a historic meeting in the Mansion House on January 21st, 1919, that domestic parliament was restored by a group of brave and dedicated people. As a parliament and as a nation, we have come a long way since the first Dáil met 90 years ago, when many of those attending that first sitting did so at the risk of arrest, imprisonment and even death. It is a testament to their tremendous courage and belief in the democratic will of the people that they risked life and liberty to make their stand.

Over the 90 years since that first historic gathering, our parliament has faced other threats and challenges but has always emerged stronger.

Today, our parliamentary system faces a different kind of challenge and a challenge that should not be underestimated – the growing disconnection from the political process of ordinary people, particularly the under-25s and those living in socially disadvantaged areas.

The falling electoral turnout over the past number of decades is evidence of this. At the last general election, 67 per cent of those registered to cast their vote did so, compared to 76 per cent in 1969.

Charles de Montesquieu, the famous French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the era of the Enlightenment, once said: “The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.”

If citizens are apathetic about our parliamentary democracy today, we politicians must look at ourselves and our parliamentary procedures.

Too often in the past, politics, government and the Oireachtas may have been seen as somewhat remote from society, remote from the ordinary man and woman in the street.

Many people find the legislative process difficult to comprehend, while the bureaucratic protocols of the modern State can, at their most benign, seem irrelevant – or, at worst, a barrier between elected representatives and those citizens who put them there.

No parliamentary democracy is without its flaws. By its very nature, democracy is slow and expensive, reflecting the need to debate, discuss and compromise on issues so that all citizens should benefit from decisions and none should suffer. But that should not preclude us from seeking to continuously improve how we do things.

Politics matters. Whether it is the big events – the Budget, the Good Friday Agreement, the Kyoto Treaty – or whether it is the seemingly small things such as the clauses in a bill that can change the lives of thousands of people; big or small, politics matters.

Our society has changed immensely in the past 20 years, and since the foundation of the State, and we are changing to reflect those developments by making our parliament less distant and more people-friendly. While robust debate is essential to the democratic process, it does not always encourage the public to become interested or involved in politics.

Unless we get more people engaged in the democratic process and make parliament more relevant to people, we face the prospect of a long-term decline in the authority of, and respect for, the Oireachtas.

This is why, as Ceann Comhairle, I strongly support the efforts of our parliamentarians to reform procedures, to make our parliament – through, for example, its committee system – more accessible to civil society.

The Oireachtas committee system offers a means for politicians and broader society to engage directly and to ensure legislation is improved as a result. Members of committees avail of the opportunity the committee system provides to engage publicly on many issues.

It also offers the opportunity to improve access to the Houses and committees and increase interaction with the public through the hearing of evidence and presentations from witnesses.

More generally, I will continue to open the gates of Leinster House to the wider public and encourage people, young and old, to connect with their parliament and their politicians.

Some of our parliamentary practices, language and procedures may still seem archaic, outdated and odd, and we may still have some way to go before we can truly say we have opened up the legislative process to allow genuine public participation, but in the words of John F Kennedy: “Democracy is never a final achievement. It is a call to an untiring effort.”


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