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Parish Pump Politics: Do TDs and their staff need a code of conduct?


Con Gallagher

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Parish Pump Politics: Do TDs and their staff need a code of conduct?

The function of TDs is to elect a government, hold it to account, sit on committees and pass legislation. However a TD who confines him/herself to that risks not being re-elected. It appears that many letters from constituents are acknowledged and passed on to the appropriate minister, department, or other recipient without too much regard for the probity, morality, or the law (eg data protection, equal status, law on contempt). What can be done?

Do TDs need to draw up a voluntary code for constituency letters
- saying "sorry I can't help you" is permissible and to be encouraged
- the TD takes responsibility for every letter not a staffer
- just as you cannot write to the DPP, they should agree (or prohibit by similar legislation) to not getting involved in civil cases, social welfare appeals, planning appeals, medical card applications
- do not breach data protection legislation to have a family denied their statutory rights
- do not write to judges or interfere with cases (except on criminal sentencing if they actually know the accused and limit it to character reference to be used in open court - as was the norm)
And
- do not name parties in a family law dispute.

http://www.politics.ie/forum/justice/198981-enda-hot-water-interfering-family-law-case.html

Kenny asks Shatter to meddle in family case - National News - Independent.ie

Phil Hogan rejects racism claim over Traveller housing letter - RT News

Molloy's fate in doubt over rape trial gaffe - National News - Independent.ie

http://www.politics.ie/forum/green-party/124396-trevor-sargent-hot-water-over-headed-notepaper-letter-garda.html

An attempt was made by an independent senator to prevent character references from public reps being used in court. The bill went too far but should a voluntary code of conduct take its place?
Government to block “bizarre proposal” restricting lobbying of judges
 


Radix

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The 'Code of Conduct' could be produced by the SF print shop in Leinster House.

Tiocfaidh Olivetti.
 

Dan_Murphy

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It cannot be a voluntary code, we all know how some morons loves their parish pump.
 

Con Gallagher

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It cannot be a voluntary code, we all know how some morons loves their parish pump.
Given the zeal with which they tried to expand their powers to conduct quasi-judicial investigations do you really think that they will pass legislation by which they will be held accountable? (Even the prohibition against contacting the DPP has no sanction for doing so).
 

wombat

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Not a hope in hell. Most TDs lose their seats to a member of their own party who has built up a reputation as a great man for getting things done.
 

Con Gallagher

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Not a hope in hell. Most TDs lose their seats to a member of their own party who has built up a reputation as a great man for getting things done.
But if everyone does it; where's the advantage? (And if all are barred* from doing so, where's the disadvantage?)


*with an oireachtas committee having the right to sanction TDs for breaches of the code.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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But if everyone does it; where's the advantage? (And if all are barred* from doing so, where's the disadvantage?)


*with an oireachtas committee having the right to sanction TDs for breaches of the code.
And how will said Oireachtas committee sanction the aspiring TDs who will be working the parish pump and taking the seats off the sitting ones (who will presumably be sitting on said committee until they lose their seats).

The reality is if you don't do the parish pump stuff you will in most instances lose your seat, the exception being where you have a very high national profile.

I don't like it any more than you do, but it is reality and I can't see any way of actually changing it as it is ingrained in the culture of the Irish electorate. Blame the electorate and not the TD who is only doing what it actually takes to get elected in this country.
 

Con Gallagher

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And how will said Oireachtas committee sanction the aspiring TDs who will be working the parish pump and taking the seats off the sitting ones (who will presumably be sitting on said committee until they lose their seats).

The reality is if you don't do the parish pump stuff you will in most instances lose your seat, the exception being where you have a massive national profile.
Councils can adopt similar standards (with the exception that they are expected to concentrate on local issues). I cannot see any justification for a TD interfering in a court case or statutory entitlement (either the applicant is entitled to a medical card or they are not).
A better funded Citizens Advice bureau would be a good start, as would larger constituencies.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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Councils can adopt similar standards (with the exception that they are expected to concentrate on local issues). I cannot see any justification for a TD interfering in a court case or statutory entitlement (either the applicant is entitled to a medical card or they are not).
A better funded Citizens Advice bureau would be a good start, as would larger constituencies.
Larger constituencies might help, but they would have to be with less TDs or otherwise you will still have the same thing. The Citizens Advice bureau wouldn't work as going to the TD is all about the impression of "getting things moving faster" and the very old Irish cultural custom of patronage, this is not something that a faceless body will be able to replace.

A national list wouldn't work either as all the parties would ensure their list of candidates was based on local geographical areas, if they didn't then the party that did so would devour them at the polls. Again this would not be the fault of the politicians but of the electorate.

Until there is a change in the culture of the electorate, then this will continue. If you cage TDs from participating at local level then they will be replaced by sitting county councillors in many instances at the following election.
 

Radix

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Airing your moronic attitude in public only draws scorn on you! It is becoming tiresome at this stage and merely illustrates how shallow you are.
Read what you said again and you'd have to understand why someone might suspect you of having self centred delusions of grandeur goin on there. Coupled with a will to power supported by a wee bit of arrogance.

Just sayin like...
 

Con Gallagher

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Larger constituencies might help, but they would have to be with less TDs or otherwise you will still have the same thing. The Citizens Advice bureau wouldn't work as going to the TD is all about the impression of "getting things moving faster" and the very old Irish cultural custom of patronage, this is not something that a faceless body will be able to replace.

A national list wouldn't work either as all the parties would ensure their list of candidates was based on local geographical areas, if they didn't then the party that did so would devour them at the polls. Again this would not be the fault of the politicians but of the electorate.

Until there is a change in the culture of the electorate, then this will continue. If you cage TDs from participating at local level then they will be replaced by sitting county councillors in many instances at the following election.
How do you change the culture of the electorate without TDs being required to refuse to act as middle men on matters which they have no business eg medical cards, planning matters or social welfare appeals?
 

greengoose2

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Read what you said again and you'd have to understand why someone might suspect you of having self centred delusions of grandeur goin on there. Coupled with a will to power supported by a wee bit of arrogance.

Just sayin like...
Reading this effort makes what I wrote even more pertinent! A few commas and an odd apostrophe would make it slightly more readable but none the less, still nonsensical.
 

GJG

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Larger constituencies might help, but they would have to be with less TDs or otherwise you will still have the same thing. The Citizens Advice bureau wouldn't work as going to the TD is all about the impression of "getting things moving faster" and the very old Irish cultural custom of patronage, this is not something that a faceless body will be able to replace.

A national list wouldn't work either as all the parties would ensure their list of candidates was based on local geographical areas, if they didn't then the party that did so would devour them at the polls. Again this would not be the fault of the politicians but of the electorate.

Until there is a change in the culture of the electorate, then this will continue. If you cage TDs from participating at local level then they will be replaced by sitting county councillors in many instances at the following election.
I think you are being pessimistic here, I think that very large constituencies (say, four in total) with a party list in each would fatally wound the parish pump system.

The parish pump system depends on voting for a named politician, often over his/her party colleagues as much as over alternative parties.

If voters voted with a X for their party list of choice, the benefit of working the parish pump would be drastically reduced for aspiring TDs; voters would be focussing on the party policies rather than who fikshed de rooad. The best should not be the enemy of the good - this would drastically reduce the effect, even if it didn't eliminate it.
 

Con Gallagher

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I think you are being pessimistic here, I think that very large constituencies (say, four in total) with a party list in each would fatally wound the parish pump system.

The parish pump system depends on voting for a named politician, often over his/her party colleagues as much as over alternative parties.

If voters voted with a X for their party list of choice, the benefit of working the parish pump would be drastically reduced for aspiring TDs; voters would be focussing on the party policies rather than who fikshed de rooad. The best should not be the enemy of the good - this would drastically reduce the effect, even if it didn't eliminate it.
Four constituencies would require a very long ballot paper and interminably long count (we used to have 9 seat constituencies but that might be a bit unyieldy)
 

GJG

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Four constituencies would require a very long ballot paper and interminably long count (we used to have 9 seat constituencies but that might be a bit unyieldy)
You misunderstand, I'm not suggesting with STV, we would need a list system, where the general election involved voting for a party only with an X; Parties would be allocated seats (from the top of their list towards the bottom) according to their proportion of the vote.
 

Cato

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Four constituencies would require a very long ballot paper and interminably long count (we used to have 9 seat constituencies but that might be a bit unyieldy)
Not in the scenario he mentioned. He's proposing a list system so only the parties would be listed and not individual candidates.
 

Cato

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Until there is a change in the culture of the electorate, then this will continue. If you cage TDs from participating at local level then they will be replaced by sitting county councillors in many instances at the following election.
Ban sitting councillors from running in national elections with at least a two year gap between losing or surrendering the councillors position and running in a general?
 

Tea Party Patriot

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Ban sitting councillors from running in national elections with at least a two year gap between losing or surrendering the councillors position and running in a general?
It would be a help, but the big question is still how to stop them working the parish pump during this time. Granted under your scenario they wouldn't have the taxpayers expenses to aid them in doing so.
 

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