I know I’ve made some hay previously about reforming the Seanad to make it somewhat more consistent, but what about something more fundamental like reforming the entire electoral system. I believe that the Oireachtas, local government and large swaths of Irish public life are broken ,busted, banjaxed. I believe that the current system has served us badly.
Let’s take for a moment the view that the Irish people really do need all these people helping them with form filling and ringing up the planning office and coming to their funerals. So let’s keep people in the system to do that but let’s also keep them the hell away from the drafting, consideration and voting involved in legislation.
Take the number of TD 166 and for every 3 of them at present let’s try and suffice with just the 2 who will become what I would term public advocates. They will sit in a people’s chamber that gets to vote on legislation but only to reject it by a 2/3 vote. So, that’s 111 of them advocates to be elected by PR-STV. And then we should have 100 members of an actual legislature 80% of whom are to be elected by a list system on a provincial basis, and the remaining 20% by national list.
And those in the latter chamber would actually be the only ones who could draft, debate and vote on actual proposed new legislation. And then members of the cabinet can be drawn from both chambers or none. But they must be approved by Oireachtas committee (much like the US senate hearings to approve cabinet members.
And let’s pay the advocates more than those in the legislature so that people aren’t tempted to use it as stepping stone to get into the legislature as people currently use the county/city council seats. Pay the advocates 100K (after all they’re doing the work of 1.5 TDs and we pay TD’s 100K as of today) and the legislators just 80K say. Members of the cabinet get a top up to bring them up to 150K. And the top dog can have 180K and the use of a flat in town along with the lodge at Farmleigh for the family.