A presidential election like none we've ever had before?

QuizMaster

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...hopefully.
We've never taken presidential elections all that seriously before.
But now we have reached some sort of crossroads, or dead end, or we've fallen over the cliff and on the way down, whatever.
We need to have a very serious chat about what's wrong with our state (not just our government), what it means to be Irish, where we are going, where we want to go, etc.
After the election, hopefully it will continue and the new President will not just lock themselves up in the big house.

Looking at all the potential candidates so far, it's hard to find anyone who can lead such a debate, or inspire us, or make us feel good or give us hope or self-belief.

Discuss.
 


Chrisco

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I would like to see our President more involved in the politics of the State, a bit like the Presidency in Finland: he/she should have the power to dissolve parliament, and should be responsible for the appointment of senior figures to the judiciary and central bank etc, having had to swear a constitutional oath to discharge their duties without fear or favour to party political allegiances.

Our Presidency, as currently structured, is an elected version of the British monarchy but with even less power.

We could get rid of the office in the morning and have the functions replaced by the Council of State and no-one would notice any difference.
 

President Bartlet

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I too hope that this presidential election will be taken seriously but for that to happen the political parties MUST take it seriously and put forward serious candidates who could lead any potentially reformed office. This means they put forward credible political candidates as it is a political office and not of the guise of the current pathetic and useless incubment, the utter tripe of candidates that were put forward in the 1997 election and certainly none of the bloody 'do-gooders' or celebrities being bandied about in some parts of the media.

A serious office with a serious person - otherwise scrap it and absore its powers into the job of Taoiseach and make the Taoiseach' role akin to that of the American President.
 

lebowskilite

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a transfer of powers from the Taoiseach to the President is indeed necessary, as well as some other powers:

1. The appointment of the Attourney-General (for too long have gov'ts said: well my neutral friend and member of my party over here agrees with my legal opinion)
2. The appointments of Judges
3. PERHAPS EVEN The appointment of the Ceann Comhairle and Seanad chair

ok, not technically the Taoiseach's prerogative, but, de facto, it currently is. The President should be able to appoint from a list of retired members - on the condition that they never again run for office - the CC and SC, though these should still be accountable to the houses in terms of votes of no-confidence etc. This is unless the CC is elected by secret ballot and allowed to stay on until they so choose like in the house o' commonage.

4. The power to defer a bill to the people in a referendum (bank bailouts would've been an interesting one, assuming that with a powerful presidency Mary Mac wouldn't been unopposed for re-election)

I'm sure there are some others. Wishlist much...
 

QuizMaster

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Interesting points, but I wasn't intending this thread to be about reforming the office of president.
What I'm trying to get at is that this campaign might just be about a huge national looking at ourselves and taking stock. Lord* knows it's needed.



*Dave Lord, a bloke I knew in London. Sound man. Actually had no clue about Irish politics though.
 

The Caped Cod

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The only reason the parties care about the presidency is because they want to have one of their own signing bills into law. That's about all the president does anyway.
I can see Fianna Fail tturning it into a media circus to distract the public from teh prospect of a GE and give them the impression to have had their say.
 

Libero

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QuizMaster said:
Looking at all the potential candidates so far, it's hard to find anyone who can lead such a debate, or inspire us, or make us feel good or give us hope or self-belief.
Looking at how our constitution designs the office, it's hard to see how having the President lead such a debate could be compatible with holding the office.

For sure, it would be possible to have a President who speaks in uplifting but vague generalities, like Bill Clinton recently did on his visit to UCD.

But for a national political debate that will involve conflict and disagreement and the questioning of others' character and motives? I think we either have to redesign the office or look elsewhere for that sort of leadership.
 

Chrisco

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Interesting points, but I wasn't intending this thread to be about reforming the office of president.
What I'm trying to get at is that this campaign might just be about a huge national looking at ourselves and taking stock. Lord* knows it's needed.



*Dave Lord, a bloke I knew in London. Sound man. Actually had no clue about Irish politics though.
I would argue that a discussion about what the Presidency is actually for would facilitate that.
 

johndodger

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...hopefully.
We've never taken presidential elections all that seriously before.
I think we've taken them as seriously as they merit.

But now we have reached some sort of crossroads, or dead end, or we've fallen over the cliff and on the way down, whatever.
We need to have a very serious chat about what's wrong with our state (not just our government), what it means to be Irish, where we are going, where we want to go, etc.
Do we? and what's this got to do with the presidential election?

After the election, hopefully it will continue and the new President will not just lock themselves up in the big house.
Since when has a President done that?

Looking at all the potential candidates so far, it's hard to find anyone who can lead such a debate, or inspire us, or make us feel good or give us hope or self-belief.

Discuss.
What presidential candidates have been announced so far?

Of the possible candidates in the news, I think David Norris would make an excellent president.
 

QuizMaster

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I think we've taken them as seriously as they merit.



Do we? and what's this got to do with the presidential election?



Since when has a President done that?



What presidential candidates have been announced so far?

Of the possible candidates in the news, I think David Norris would make an excellent president.
I thought so too until recently, provided he wears a top hat, monocle, and watch and chain. But now I'm not so sure, we need to take it a bit more seriously.
 

johndodger

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a transfer of powers from the Taoiseach to the President is indeed necessary, as well as some other powers:

1. The appointment of the Attourney-General (for too long have gov'ts said: well my neutral friend and member of my party over here agrees with my legal opinion)
2. The appointments of Judges
3. PERHAPS EVEN The appointment of the Ceann Comhairle and Seanad chair

ok, not technically the Taoiseach's prerogative, but, de facto, it currently is. The President should be able to appoint from a list of retired members - on the condition that they never again run for office - the CC and SC, though these should still be accountable to the houses in terms of votes of no-confidence etc. This is unless the CC is elected by secret ballot and allowed to stay on until they so choose like in the house o' commonage.

4. The power to defer a bill to the people in a referendum (bank bailouts would've been an interesting one, assuming that with a powerful presidency Mary Mac wouldn't been unopposed for re-election)

I'm sure there are some others. Wishlist much...
You seriously think legislation should be enacted by referendum? Why do we elect legislators so?

Would the electorate be able to understand the fine print of such a legal document (would they even read it?) and would they make a judgement based on what is best for the country or based on what is in their own selfish interest? In such cases people would be extremely unlikely to read the bill or and would most likely be inffulenced unduly by the media. What, for example, do you think would happen if a finance bill containing (perhaps necessary) swinging cuts or tax increases was put to referendum?
 

idle tim

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I thought so too until recently, provided he wears a top hat, monocle, and watch and chain. But now I'm not so sure, we need to take it a bit more seriously.
The search for candidates should be broadened,the criteria changed to include people who may not necessarily reside or have been born in Ireland.The lack of inspiring candidates being put forward as viable is a sad reflection on our Nation,i would be quiet happy to see someone like the Businessman and Philanthropist Chuck Feeney(if he was willing) being put forward,he holds dual citizenship and would IMO have broad respect and appeal both at home and abroad.Ime sure there are many others just as suitable who hold Ireland and its well being close to their hearts.Are we mature enough as a Nation to seek them out.
Thomas Davis once said "It is not blood liniage that makes one Irish,but a simple willingness to jump on board and declare oneself a part of the Irish Nation".
 

Highking

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I honestly couldn't be bothered who the president is, all they do is check if legislation is constitutional or not and make public appearances, why do I care who shakes Brian O'Driscoll's hand?

The Supreme Court decides the constitutionality argument anyway, and wouldn't an independent Judge have a better understanding of our constitution than an elected official with no basis in law?
 

goatstoe

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...hopefully.
We've never taken presidential elections all that seriously before.
But now we have reached some sort of crossroads, or dead end, or we've fallen over the cliff and on the way down, whatever.
We need to have a very serious chat about what's wrong with our state (not just our government), what it means to be Irish, where we are going, where we want to go, etc.
After the election, hopefully it will continue and the new President will not just lock themselves up in the big house.

Looking at all the potential candidates so far, it's hard to find anyone who can lead such a debate, or inspire us, or make us feel good or give us hope or self-belief.

Discuss.
Michael D Higgins was on Pat Kenny's radio programme this morning along with an academic from Toronto. He had some interesting things to say about the benefits of creativity to society at large, not just in artistic or social ways but also crucially in terms of economic development. The interview is about half way into the programme here if you're interested:

RT.ie Media Player: RTÉ Radio 1
 

johndodger

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I thought so too until recently, provided he wears a top hat, monocle, and watch and chain. But now I'm not so sure, we need to take it a bit more seriously.
Why would David Norris not take the role seriously? I think he is an ideal choice. An intelligent well-spoken independent politician and acomplished academic who has been one of our most active and longest serving senators; one that has "done the state some service".

The primary roles of the President are to sign bills into law, protect the constitution and represent the country an home and abroad as head or state. This part of the role should not be underestimated in building relationships (trade and otherwise) with other countries. As a acomplished, articulate and witty speaker Norris would be ideal in this role and would, I think, be well respected internationally.

We don't need a joint Head of State and Government as someone else has suggested. The last think we need is a Taoiseach with more (presidential like) powers and that job is busy enough without the Taoiseach having to spend all his/her time travelling around the country and the world opening when there is important business of government to be getting on with.
 

Odyessus

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I think we've taken them as seriously as they merit.



Do we? and what's this got to do with the presidential election?



Since when has a President done that?



What presidential candidates have been announced so far?

Of the possible candidates in the news, I think David Norris would make an excellent president.

Norris will never be President. His Magill interview may have been buried by the main-stream media, but I guarantee the most damaging extracts from it will appear on opposition posters if he runs.

I would be surprised if he does run, knowing this will happen, but even if he does run, he will not be elected.
 
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Watcher2

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I would like to see our President more involved in the politics of the State, a bit like the Presidency in Finland: he/she should have the power to dissolve parliament, and should be responsible for the appointment of senior figures to the judiciary and central bank etc, having had to swear a constitutional oath to discharge their duties without fear or favour to party political allegiances.

Our Presidency, as currently structured, is an elected version of the British monarchy but with even less power.

We could get rid of the office in the morning and have the functions replaced by the Council of State and no-one would notice any difference.
Actually, I'd like to see the presidency done away with, just like the Seanad.

Superfluous, that's the only way to describe it.
 

Watcher2

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Why would David Norris not take the role seriously? I think he is an ideal choice. An intelligent well-spoken independent politician and acomplished academic who has been one of our most active and longest serving senators; one that has "done the state some service".

The primary roles of the President are to sign bills into law, protect the constitution and represent the country an home and abroad as head or state. This part of the role should not be underestimated in building relationships (trade and otherwise) with other countries. As a acomplished, articulate and witty speaker Norris would be ideal in this role and would, I think, be well respected internationally.

We don't need a joint Head of State and Government as someone else has suggested. The last think we need is a Taoiseach with more (presidential like) powers and that job is busy enough without the Taoiseach having to spend all his/her time travelling around the country and the world opening when there is important business of government to be getting on with.

Really? What has he done for all the years he has been a Senator? If you have an answer please also tell us how much it all cost and if it was worth it.
 

johndodger

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Norris will never be President. His Hot Press interview may have been buried by the main-stream media, but I guarantee the most damaging extracts from it will appear on opposition posters if he runs.

I would be surprised if he does run, knowing this will happen, but even if he does run, he will not be elected.
Are you psychic or something or is this just your opinion?

Really? What has he done for all the years he has been a Senator? If you have an answer please also tell us how much it all cost and if it was worth it.
He has been a vary active senator (more so than most if not all) contributing to a range of issues and legislation over the years. He is though perhaps most noteworthy for work in driving forth the equality agenda. Very admirable.
 

Watcher2

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Are you psychic or something or is this just your opinion?



He has been a vary active senator (more so than most if not all) contributing to a range of issues and legislation over the years. He is though perhaps most noteworthy for work in driving forth the equality agenda. Very admirable.
So, what exactly has he done? I know he is a very active member of the Seanad, his face gets plastered around the place quite a bit, but what value has he brought to the table in any meaningful way for the 20/30 years the tax payers of this state have been paying him? I know all about the equality agenda he has pusshed through, and indeed I take my hat off to him for that (him being a personal beneficiary of that legislation I suppose helped him in his quest).

But what else has he done - stood up and spoke in the chamber? pfff what a job. Has he, or indeed the Seanad every shot down legislation that the empowered party wanted put through? My impression, and I may be corrected on this, is that the Seanad is merely a mirror image in that regard of the Dail. It should be scrapped, end of as shou8ld the presidency because both institutions are superfluous.
 


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