Examiner/Millard Brown poll on Dail, Seanad and Presidency

gijoe

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Contained in yesterday's Examiner:

166 TD's are too many in the Dail for a country of our size:

80% agree strongly;
10% agree slightly;
2% disagree slightly;
3% disagree strongly (I did not know that TD's families came to 3% of the population!);
3% neither agree or disagree;
1% DK.

Given our current economic situation the Seanad is a luxury we cannot afford:

62% agree strongly;
14% agree slightly;
5% disagree slightly;
7% disagree strongly;
9% neither agree or disagree;
4% DK.

Given our current economic situation the Presidency is a luxury we cannot afford:

26% agree strongly;
11% agree slightly;
16% disagree slightly;
33% disagree strongly;
12% neither agree or disagree;
2% DK.
 


ellie08

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I strongly agree that we should have a president, though on a salary of 70-100K.
 

Panopticon

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Contained in yesterday's Examiner:

166 TD's are too many in the Dail for a country of our size:

80% agree strongly;
10% agree slightly;
2% disagree slightly;
3% disagree strongly (I did not know that TD's families came to 3% of the population!);
3% neither agree or disagree;
1% DK.

Given our current economic situation the Seanad is a luxury we cannot afford:

62% agree strongly;
14% agree slightly;
5% disagree slightly;
7% disagree strongly;
9% neither agree or disagree;
4% DK.

Given our current economic situation the Presidency is a luxury we cannot afford:

26% agree strongly;
11% agree slightly;
16% disagree slightly;
33% disagree strongly;
12% neither agree or disagree;
2% DK.
These are very leading questions.

For instance, I could ask: Do you think the Cabinet should be chosen from a bigger range of candidates?

Do you think a Seanad with stronger powers, like the US Senate, would have stopped bad state appointments?

People are very easily led, especially when they are in an emotional and agitated state, like the one that prevails at the moment.
 

DeGaulle 2.0

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If that was the question asked then it was clearly looking for a specific answer.

Suppose the following question had been asked instead "Do you think that the Dáil should have the same number of TDs per population as there is in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland?" , I wonder what the answer would be. The 4 countries mentioned have the same ratio if TDs to population as Ireland.
 

Keith-M

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So it's clear. Keep the Presidency, reduce the Dail and get rid of the Senate. FG should make this one of their red lines in any deal with Labour.
 
Last edited:

NYCKY

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These are very leading questions.

For instance, I could ask: Do you think the Cabinet should be chosen from a bigger range of candidates?

Do you think a Seanad with stronger powers, like the US Senate, would have stopped bad state appointments?

People are very easily led, especially when they are in an emotional and agitated state, like the one that prevails at the moment.
+1

You can get an opinion poll to tell you anything you want.

If the went out and asked the average Joe Soap, how many TDs are in the Dail, realistically how many do you think would know the answer? Some Joe Soaps would hardly know what the Dail is!
 

McDave

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I strongly agree that we should have a president, though on a salary of 70-100K.
+1 The President gets a fantastic house to live in, a state car and chauffeur and expenses. S/he doesn't need a mega-wage to do the job.
 

bprob

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This is yet another poll whose results need to be junked.

I have rarely (if ever) seen such leading questions on a poll.
very difficult to phrase a question that doesn't lead in some direction or other.

perhaps you could ask:
for every 100,000 citizens, how many TDs/Senators should there be?
of course then, the argument would be about how the answers are stratified/grouped together.

it is unrealistic to ask people whether we should have a head of state or not.
perhaps the issue should be whether the head of state is an active role or a ceremonial role. maybe the question should be:
should the taoiseach be directly elected, with the roles of taoiseach and president merged?
 

Toland

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very difficult to phrase a question that doesn't lead in some direction or other.

perhaps you could ask:
for every 100,000 citizens, how many TDs/Senators should there be?
of course then, the argument would be about how the answers are stratified/grouped together.

it is unrealistic to ask people whether we should have a head of state or not.
perhaps the issue should be whether the head of state is an active role or a ceremonial role. maybe the question should be:
should the taoiseach be directly elected, with the roles of taoiseach and president merged?
That last question is extremely leading too. The usual practice would be to skew the question in favour of the status quo, thus allowing you to see if there is much demand for change or not.

e.g.

The number of TD's in the Dáil is appropriate for a country like Ireland.

Agree strongly
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
Disagree strongly

I'm just guessing, but I think in the above example the mood for change would shine through the skewing of the question.
 

slx

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I would definitely agree that we need to cut the size of the Dail, but it also needs to be modified so that there is a bit of a mixture of people in there.

E.g. I think you could combine the roles of the Dail and Seanad by having something like this:

80 TDs elected from local constituencies as per usual.
20 TDs elected using the European constituencies (to give a more national focus and reduce some of the issues with clientelism)

Abolish the existing Seanad, but as a trade off, the executive would have to be weakened and there would need to be much more oversight from the Dáil.

President could be kept, but I think a drastic re-think of her salary is in order.

Huge overhaul of the way TDs are paid. Reduction of salary, massive curtailment of perks.

I woud suggest something like this:

Constituency costs:

Each constituency gets a public representatives office with decent facilities. This is owned by the state and not the TD. A building that has been NAMA'd could be found I'm sure, or some existing public building could be used. No more of this renting constituency offices and charging back the state nonsense.

For the duration of your term in office, you get the use of a suite of offices at this facility. Secretaries and other admin staff could be recruited, but through a normal procurement / hiring procedure.

Costs such as telephones, internet, stationary etc would be dealt with through a public tendering process to reduce price as low as possible. Purchasing would be done centrally.

This could be run by an electoral commission which was independent of Government to prevent favoritism / slush fund mentality from redeveloping.

Accommodation:

A hotel is purchased in Dublin e.g. one of the NAMA'd hotels in the city centre and is converted into accommodation for TDs and visiting civil servants. The running of this hotel is put out to tender via a public and transparent tendering process. All other accommodation allowances are scrapped.

Each TD gets a permanent suite with a bedroom, living room, kitchen and an office space. Meals etc can be provided in the accommodation centre's restaurant and facilities for constituent visits, media interviews, meetings etc could be provided too. Similar setup to a hotel, just with more specialised facilities.

Expenses:

Each TD is issued with a special charge card / credit card and cheque book. All expenses must be paid using this system and vouched for. Details would be published on the internet for each TD every month. The only details that would be withheld would be exact addresses etc to protect from stalkers/security issues, but in general all details would be published.

Transport:
Where possible, public transport would be used e.g. for long train trips etc. Each TD would be issued with a rail pass.

Car transport would be expensed as any normal company does it. Each year the electoral commission would tender to the service stations for a petrol contract, much like any fleet manager does. Milage and petrol/diesel costs would be collected as each TD pays by card in the garage.

Full details would be published online of distance travelled and expenses paid.

To compensate for wear and tear on their cars, two car services per year could be expensed, but no more.

A car would be provided for the Taoiseach.
Other ministers would be able to access a Dáil car pool service which would have a number of cars and drivers available. To use one of these, the minister's office would need to call, much like taxi and provide a reason for the use of the car etc.
These cars would only be usable for official business. Constituency or other business would have to be done in the Minister's own car through the normal expense regime, described above.

A cost benefit analysis would be carried out for the Government jet. If it's more cost effective, the state would engage a business jet hire company for serious international trips e.g. trade missions / state visits etc. Each trip would have to be justified and details published.
However, for normal day-to-day trips, scheduled airlines would be used.

Overseas hotels charges would be subject to serious scrutiny and a value-for-money programme put in place to ensure that departments shopped around. Again, all costs would be published and be made available for public scrutiny.

With a bit of imagination I would suspect you could cut the costs by more than 50% without damaging, and perhaps even improving the quality of representation in the process!
 

bprob

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Messages
678
That last question is extremely leading too. The usual practice would be to skew the question in favour of the status quo, thus allowing you to see if there is much demand for change or not.

e.g.

The number of TD's in the Dáil is appropriate for a country like Ireland.

Agree strongly
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
Disagree strongly

I'm just guessing, but I think in the above example the mood for change would shine through the skewing of the question.
you're right about the taoiseach question.
i should have posted it separately as i was trying to make the point that i disagreed with the suggestion that we do away with the head of state position, rather than trying to formulate a survey question to gauge reaction to the proposal.
 

Toland

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I would definitely agree that we need to cut the size of the Dail, but it also needs to be modified so that there is a bit of a mixture of people in there.

E.g. I think you could combine the roles of the Dail and Seanad by having something like this:

80 TDs elected from local constituencies as per usual.
20 TDs elected using the European constituencies (to give a more national focus and reduce some of the issues with clientelism)

Abolish the existing Seanad, but as a trade off, the executive would have to be weakened and there would need to be much more oversight from the Dáil.

President could be kept, but I think a drastic re-think of her salary is in order.

Huge overhaul of the way TDs are paid. Reduction of salary, massive curtailment of perks.

I woud suggest something like this:

Constituency costs:

Each constituency gets a public representatives office with decent facilities. This is owned by the state and not the TD. A building that has been NAMA'd could be found I'm sure, or some existing public building could be used. No more of this renting constituency offices and charging back the state nonsense.

For the duration of your term in office, you get the use of a suite of offices at this facility. Secretaries and other admin staff could be recruited, but through a normal procurement / hiring procedure.

Costs such as telephones, internet, stationary etc would be dealt with through a public tendering process to reduce price as low as possible. Purchasing would be done centrally.

This could be run by an electoral commission which was independent of Government to prevent favoritism / slush fund mentality from redeveloping.

Accommodation:

A hotel is purchased in Dublin e.g. one of the NAMA'd hotels in the city centre and is converted into accommodation for TDs and visiting civil servants. The running of this hotel is put out to tender via a public and transparent tendering process. All other accommodation allowances are scrapped.

Each TD gets a permanent suite with a bedroom, living room, kitchen and an office space. Meals etc can be provided in the accommodation centre's restaurant and facilities for constituent visits, media interviews, meetings etc could be provided too. Similar setup to a hotel, just with more specialised facilities.

Expenses:

Each TD is issued with a special charge card / credit card and cheque book. All expenses must be paid using this system and vouched for. Details would be published on the internet for each TD every month. The only details that would be withheld would be exact addresses etc to protect from stalkers/security issues, but in general all details would be published.

Transport:
Where possible, public transport would be used e.g. for long train trips etc. Each TD would be issued with a rail pass.

Car transport would be expensed as any normal company does it. Each year the electoral commission would tender to the service stations for a petrol contract, much like any fleet manager does. Milage and petrol/diesel costs would be collected as each TD pays by card in the garage.

Full details would be published online of distance travelled and expenses paid.

To compensate for wear and tear on their cars, two car services per year could be expensed, but no more.

A car would be provided for the Taoiseach.
Other ministers would be able to access a Dáil car pool service which would have a number of cars and drivers available. To use one of these, the minister's office would need to call, much like taxi and provide a reason for the use of the car etc.
These cars would only be usable for official business. Constituency or other business would have to be done in the Minister's own car through the normal expense regime, described above.

A cost benefit analysis would be carried out for the Government jet. If it's more cost effective, the state would engage a business jet hire company for serious international trips e.g. trade missions / state visits etc. Each trip would have to be justified and details published.
However, for normal day-to-day trips, scheduled airlines would be used.

Overseas hotels charges would be subject to serious scrutiny and a value-for-money programme put in place to ensure that departments shopped around. Again, all costs would be published and be made available for public scrutiny.

With a bit of imagination I would suspect you could cut the costs by more than 50% without damaging, and perhaps even improving the quality of representation in the process!
There are some good proposals in there. It's a pity you're so off-topic!

: o )
 


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