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Reforming Bunreacht as the basis for a proper Republic

statsman

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Feb 25, 2011
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A modest proposal of sorts:

Reform the Seanad to be an organ of Constitutional Protection.

Task them with identifying all those clauses in Bunreacht that should be dealt with by legislation and propose their removal.

Hold a super referendum to remove all such clauses and to secularise the preamble, based on the simple proposition that the Constitution belongs to the people and is the framework within which elected legislators are required to serve their electorate. This should be made explicit in the document itself, as a clear statement that it is not the role of elected reps to challenge Bunreacht via legislation.

Further propose that amending Bunreacht should be a once in a generation cycle (with the exception of changes required by international treaty). The primary goals here are to stop parties (and Indos) including constitutional changes in their election promises and to avoid situations where legislators decline to act as they should and try to use Bunreacht to disguise their reluctance to act in accordance with their responsibilities.

The outcome should be a version of Bunreacht that is actually the basis of a progressive secular Republic, in the classical meaning of the word.
 


Spanner Island

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Feb 22, 2011
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24,203
A modest proposal of sorts:

Reform the Seanad to be an organ of Constitutional Protection.

Task them with identifying all those clauses in Bunreacht that should be dealt with by legislation and propose their removal.

Hold a super referendum to remove all such clauses and to secularise the preamble, based on the simple proposition that the Constitution belongs to the people and is the framework within which elected legislators are required to serve their electorate. This should be made explicit in the document itself, as a clear statement that it is not the role of elected reps to challenge Bunreacht via legislation.

Further propose that amending Bunreacht should be a once in a generation cycle (with the exception of changes required by international treaty). The primary goals here are to stop parties (and Indos) including constitutional changes in their election promises and to avoid situations where legislators decline to act as they should and try to use Bunreacht to disguise their reluctance to act in accordance with their responsibilities.

The outcome should be a version of Bunreacht that is actually the basis of a progressive secular Republic, in the classical meaning of the word.
Good luck with that...

It's kind of why I spoiled my vote in the pointless Seanad referendum that Enda presented as reform... i.e. keep the dysfunctional mess as it is or get rid of it leaving us morons in full control...

It was a cynical choice which I refused to indulge Enda in.

Anyway... despite all the rhetoric we hear constantly about reform and new politics etc... I suspect it's all hot air and will come to nothing... being the disillusioned and cynical sceptic I've become when it comes to politics and politicians etc.
 

statsman

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Feb 25, 2011
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Good luck with that...

It's kind of why I spoiled my vote in the pointless Seanad referendum that Enda presented as reform... i.e. keep the dysfunctional mess as it is or get rid of it leaving us morons in full control...

Despite all waffle we hear about reform and new politics etc... I suspect it's all hot air and will come to nothing... being the disillusioned and cynical sceptic I've become when it comes to politics and politicians etc.
On the whole, I share your cynicism. However, after some conversations I had at the weekend, I thought it might be nice to dream of a republic worth having, even if we know it will never actually happen.
 

Cato

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I've a suspicion that some of your OP was in response to Deputy Wallace's Bill.
 

Cato

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And a minimum voting requirement for success at a referendum?
Yeah, but that has to be done in a way so that opponents of the measure cannot simply defeated by refusing to vote.
 

statsman

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I've a suspicion that some of your OP was in response to Deputy Wallace's Bill.
In part, and I'm in favour of removing the 8th. However, it's just a catalyst for some things I've thought for a long time.
 

Cruimh

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Yeah, but that has to be done in a way so that opponents of the measure cannot simply defeated by refusing to vote.
In the 1979 referendum on Scottish devolution it had to both win and have the support of a minimum of 40% of the electorate, which seems sensible. In the First Irish Constitution (subsequently nobbled) the requirements were even more stringent, a majority of voters on the register, or two-thirds of the vote recorded were required.
 

Cato

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cricket

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In the 1979 referendum on Scottish devolution it had to both win and have the support of a minimum of 40% of the electorate, which seems sensible. In the First Irish Constitution (subsequently nobbled) the requirements were even more stringent, a majority of voters on the register, or two-thirds of the vote recorded were required.
That would make sense provided voting was compulsory.
 

Cato

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On the whole, I share your cynicism. However, after some conversations I had at the weekend, I thought it might be nice to dream of a republic worth having, even if we know it will never actually happen.
Some agreement on what a republic is might be a good starting point. The meaning of 'republicanism' in Ireland has been corrupted by our physical force brethren and many others simply pin their own political shopping list onto the word 'republic', most ignoring the political philosophical tradition of republicanism.
 

statsman

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I think that would be on the low side and such a small percentage would be likely, as in the UK, to feed calls for a repeat vote.
Set it in stone in Bunreacht and let the whingers go to hell.
 

Cruimh

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That would make sense provided voting was compulsory.
I'm not sure compulsory voting is needed or helpful. These referenda should be on issues of major interest and public concern. If the turn out is too low then either the question has been badly put, or the issue doesn't warrant the vote and should be dealt with in Parliament by legislation?
 

statsman

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Some agreement on what a republic is might be a good starting point. The meaning of 'republicanism' in Ireland has been corrupted by our physical force brethren and many others simply pin their own political shopping list onto the word 'republic', most ignoring the political philosophical tradition of republicanism.
Yes, this would be part of an effort to recover the word from its perverters.
 

Cato

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Do you mean a 33% turnout?
Technically, it could pass on a 33% turnout if no one from the other side turned out. I mean that any referendum to amend the constitution would have to a) gain a vote of those who actually turn out greater than 50%, and that b) such a vote would have to be equal or greater to 33% of the electorate.
 
O

Oscurito

In the 1979 referendum on Scottish devolution it had to both win and have the support of a minimum of 40% of the electorate, which seems sensible. In the First Irish Constitution (subsequently nobbled) the requirements were even more stringent, a majority of voters on the register, or two-thirds of the vote recorded were required.
That constitution was written at a time when participation by voters was much higher. I agree that 51% of 50% shouldn't be deciding issues of national importance but any such measure would have to go in tandem with a major initiative on upping the voter turnout.
 

statsman

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Technically, it could pass on a 33% turnout if no one from the other side turned out. I mean that any referendum to amend the constitution would have to a) gain a vote of those who actually turn out greater than 50%, and that b) such a vote would have to be equal or greater to 33% of the electorate.
So, you could defeat a proposal by staying at home in sufficient numbers to ensure it didn't happen. 60% of those who turn out would encourage all sides to vote.
 

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