Most TDs' parliamentary assistants not based in Dáil


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Just over a third of the 123 parliamentary assistants appointed to assist TDs are actually based in Leinster House. The remainder work from TDs' constituencies.

Latest figures also show that there are now more than 400 non-civil service political staff on the payroll of the Oireachtas to help TDs and senators with their work, a ratio of nearly two staff to every politician in Leinster House. - Irish Times
 

Shepherd

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If TDs thought they could get elected based on their parliamentary performance, they'd all be introducing bills to beat the band. Fact us, most Irish voters get exactly the sort of TDs they want. Sad, but democratic.
 

campbeca

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The expression 'arse crawling social workers' may be a touch crude but unfortunately it's not a million miles from the truth.


We're all political nerds yet think of how many TDs we ever mention in terms of national policy formation/debate. Politics is a team sport in this country save a dozen or two real men and women
 

BarryW

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Decentralisation in practice! :)

Seriously though - I don't see any problem with the Parliamentary assistants not being based in Leinster House, or its immediate surrounds. With email, the internet and all that trendy stuff, people no longer have to be in the office next to their boss to do their job - especially the kind of research work that these PA's do
 

Worldbystorm

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I tend to agree with BarryW. Just because PA's are not on site doesn't make them any less functional.

My understanding is that PA's had to apply for the jobs. What the criteria were that were used for the actual selection presumably was determined by the parties or individual TDs.
 

Shepherd

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It's the reason I have little sympathies for TDs bitching about how hard they work in their constituencies. They could change it if they wished, but haven't got the balls, and that goes for all parties.
 

Worldbystorm

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Some work hard, some don't. But most of those I've ever met tend to work fairly long hours, and to be fair to them their constituents keep them on their toes.
 

Shepherd

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Worldbystorm said:
Some work hard, some don't. But most of those I've ever met tend to work fairly long hours, and to be fair to them their constituents keep them on their toes.
I don't doubt that. I worked long enough for McDowell to appreciate that huge workload. The reason the workload is so huge is because people have no faith in either local government or the public service not to give them the runaround, hence the need for a "champion" to go in and fight for them.

Having said that, the general ignorance of most Irish people to their rights and how Govt works is shocking. I once directed a guy in work to the Oasis website, and he was convinced it was some sort of secret website only made available to political hacks.
 

campbeca

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Their job is not to work long hours in their constituencies bumping people up waiting lists and attending funerals.
 

baldur0300

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campbeca said:
Their job is not to work long hours in their constituencies bumping people up waiting lists and attending funerals.
But political reality in this country is that the TD must work very hard in his/her constituency if they want to retain their seat. We might complain that this is not how it should be but this is how it is.
 

cain1798

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As far as I understand the PA system, the Oireachtas pays for them but they're hired at the discretion of the party concerned, or the TD concerned, depending on how the party functions. I get the impression from other parties that the party itself has little or no control over who is employed as a PA. So the majority of PAs for FF and FG are not necessarily members of the party whereas I understand that the vast majority of Labour, and all SF and Socialist PAs are party members.

I agree that being in Leinster House doesn't necessarily mean you're working on policy or anything. Plenty of PAs here are simply administrators and nothing more whereas one of our key policy people working out of here is based in Galway most of the time.

As for TDs and policymaking, I don't think they're encouraged in it to be honest. There's a few TDs in every party who are good at the nitty gritty of the policy stuff, going through the legislation at Committee stage line by line and so on. Most wouldn't have the skills or education to do so though I have noticed that TDs who wouldn't make legislators, can often be the ones who spot the gaps. A policy wonk in Dublin might not realise how a certain local authority might choose to interpret a certain section if a TD with personal experience in the area didn't draw his or her attention to it.

Personally I think a combination system is needed. Elect 120 TDs in multi-seat PR-STV constituencies with minimum of four seats and maximum of seven. Elect another 50 by means of a party list system calculated on a separate ballot sheet cast at the same time as the constituency ballot. Abolish Seanad.
 

Worldbystorm

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Hmmm...I'm always dubious about diminishing the scope and limit of democratic representation.

I'm not sure I'd cut the numbers of TDs down, and I'd certainly think long and hard before abolishing the Seanad. Reform, absolutely. Abolish, probably not.

A further thought, I'm not a huge fan of list systems. They appeal to technocrats - hence LAbour and FG have played with the idea on and off, but for all it's faults I like the concept of direct representation with geographic locations. It tends to predicate against elitism, or exacerbating the already existing gulf between representatives and represented.
 

BarryW

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cain1798 said:
Personally I think a combination system is needed. Elect 120 TDs in multi-seat PR-STV constituencies with minimum of four seats and maximum of seven. Elect another 50 by means of a party list system calculated on a separate ballot sheet cast at the same time as the constituency ballot
A two-tier Dáil? I can't say I like the sound of that
 

cain1798

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BarryW said:
cain1798 said:
Personally I think a combination system is needed. Elect 120 TDs in multi-seat PR-STV constituencies with minimum of four seats and maximum of seven. Elect another 50 by means of a party list system calculated on a separate ballot sheet cast at the same time as the constituency ballot
A two-tier Dáil? I can't say I like the sound of that
Eh? Two-tier? Same salary for them. Just elected in different ways. None would be superior to the others.....

Well, obviously Sinn Féin TDs would be superior to the others but that's more a product of revolutionary politics than anything else.
 

BarryW

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cain1798 said:
Eh? Two-tier? Same salary for them. Just elected in different ways. None would be superior to the others.....
Your idea sounds similar to Noel Dempsey's proposals a few years ago, which were based on the idea that the "list" TDs would concentrate on Legislating, while the constituency TDs would concentrate on the parish pump stuff.
They may be on the same salary, but there was a definite implication of two different classes of TDs in this proposal

1) This idea would have made a mockery of the Constitutional duty to legislate given to the Oireachtas, because only some TDs would have that responsibilty
2) By electing a proportion to TDs to concentrate specifically on local matters, it amounted to yet another insult to Local Government
 

DOD

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David Cochrane said:
Just over a third of the 123 parliamentary assistants appointed to assist TDs are actually based in Leinster House. The remainder work from TDs' constituencies.
It depends largely on where the TD is based. If you have a TD in say, South Kerry, who is based almost permanently in the constituency, having his or her PA in Leinster House would make little sense. If, however, the TD is for Dublin Central or somewhere, then badsing them in Leinster House would be more logical.
 

campbeca

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baldur0300 said:
campbeca said:
Their job is not to work long hours in their constituencies bumping people up waiting lists and attending funerals.
But political reality in this country is that the TD must work very hard in his/her constituency if they want to retain their seat. We might complain that this is not how it should be but this is how it is.
I see the reality but it doesn't make it right. I hate that the dail doesn't have room for some of Ireland's smartest. I dont just mean people on the right like me I also include people like Martin Marsergh, Derek McDowell, David Norris, Bacik who aren't afraid to speak their mind. it destroys the standard of dail debatejust because the room is taken up by local cute hoors
 

geraghd

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I dont think this was in any way surprising and goes to further highlight the cancerous growth called parochialism that has infested the country since the early part of the last century. Aside from the wonders of telecommunications PA's are Parliamentary Assistants, their work should be based in the Parliament. Of course most TDs, seeing increased resources being given to them by the paying public, have sought to use these to keep an eye on their seats and ensure reelection.
More stringent measures should have been enacted to ensure their work was for legislative duties not local constituency business.
 

Maximilian

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cain1798 said:
Personally I think a combination system is needed. Elect 120 TDs in multi-seat PR-STV constituencies with minimum of four seats and maximum of seven. Elect another 50 by means of a party list system calculated on a separate ballot sheet cast at the same time as the constituency ballot. Abolish Seanad.
What are the reasons behind your decision on the number of national representatives (170 is a big reduction from 226) and why have you chosen the particular balance between constituency elected TDs and party list elected TDs suggested above.
 
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