Gaelers on Political reform

FG’s political reform will give emigrants a voice in the political process

FG will slash number of Oireachtas members by one-third

Fine Gael’s New Politics ‘is the most radical plan for political reform in the history of the State. A smaller, more nimble government will place the concerns of the citizen and not the insiders at the heart of the decision-making process,’ according to Party Environment Spokesman, Phil Hogan.

Speaking at the Party’s launch of its political reform package, Phil Hogan stated that “eligible citizens living abroad will be given the right to vote at Irish embassies in the Presidential election. As we have seen in recent years the scourge of emigration has returned to Ireland with 1,000 people a week leaving our shores. Our emigrants care deeply about Ireland and we want to give them a real voice in the political system. If this experiment proves successful we will consider extending the practice to general elections.

“Fine Gael’s Five Point Plan is about changing our country and getting Ireland working. But we believe that reform must start at the top. The political system cannot ask others to change and make sacrifices if it is not prepared to do the same. That is why we will slash the number of politicians by 35% by holding a referendum to abolish the Seanad and by cutting the number of TDs by 20. We will also replace state cars for current and former officials with a car pool system. All of these initiatives will save taxpayers millions every year.

“As well as saving money Fine Gael wants to make the political system more transparent and more accountable to the public. A Fine Gael Government will significantly strengthen Freedom of Information; establish a ‘whistleblowers charter’; register all lobbyists; and create a new Electoral Commission.

“We believe that the Irish people must be consulted on and involved in the process of political reform. We will establish a Citizens Assembly, composed of 100 members of the public, to make recommendations on electoral reform and how we should increase the number of women in politics. We will also introduce a petitions system for the Dail so that citizens can raise their issues and concerns in the Oireachtas, and reduce the voting age to 17 to help harness the enthusiasm of our youth.”