Would a system of “Direct Democracy” be good for Ireland?

johndodger

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Would a system of “Direct Democracy”, as used in Switzerland, be good for, or indeed advisable, for Ireland? Would we use it wisely? If so what laws would people like to see introduced or abolished?
 


roc_

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Not at the present time. It is a worthy and important aspiration though... But until the mass of our people are capable of ruling themselves it would be a bad idea. As can be clearly seen from many of the contributions to this site and others, from our mainstream newspapers, and from shows like Joe Duffy, what would happen would be a very bad case of, as Oscar Wilde put it, "The bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people."
 

Akrasia

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Direct democracy is the logical progression if we are to advance from a primative form of society to a more advanced race. We don't need to introduce it all at once, the first step that ought to be implemented at our earliest possible opportunity, should be a mechanism by which the government (or individuals within the government)can be recalled if sufficient number of people decide that they are no longer fulfilling their mandate.

This is a mechanism that some other countries take for granted and is a minimum (but not sufficient) requirement for a genuine functioning democracy.
 

Asparagus

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Never - alls we need is some strict regulation of the dail, severe penalties for wrong doing and a benchmarking of our elected officials take home pay either by referendum or by performance monitoring...
 

Twin Towers

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Ciarán Mac Mathghamhna

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It might work, but it'd be tricky in practice. Perhaps some sort of technological innovation might allow everyone to vote on everything. Maybe some sort of electronic voting machine ...
 

roc_

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We need to learn to walk before we can run... I think a precursory first step would be to make good on our present system of representation. I mean, if we can't even get 166 good representatives, capable and allowed a remit to draw on their own intelligence, experience, and broad and (hopefully) inspirational vision, to articulate and fight for a genuine public good... then, what hope is there for the mass of the whole people? Even thus, we are still talking about SERIOUS reform and more than likely the end of the existing party political system as it stands imo.
 

MickO'Toole

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Direct Democracy Ireland are proposing what amounts to 'deliberative democracy' for Ireland, at least at the start, which entails introducing two new concepts: citizens can initiate a referendum, and can recall elected officials:

"The goal of Direct Democracy Ireland organisation is to create a political party that will field candidates, in all constituencies, in the next General Election. The aim of Direct Democracy Ireland is to introduce a system of direct democracy in Ireland, which will entail, at a minimum, the right of the people to:

1. Initiative – Any citizen can collect a certain number of signatures, (a certain % of the population), to call a referendum.

2. Referendum – The referendum will empower the people to negate Ministerial decisions, or Government legislation, such as NAMA.

3. Recall – A mechanism will also be introduced whereby politicians can be ‘fired’ if they are not performing their job to the satisfaction of the electorate.
Direct Democracy Ireland Blog Archive Welcome to Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI)

I think these are very workable proposals.
 

Rhubarbless

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Direct Democracy Ireland are proposing what amounts to 'deliberative democracy' for Ireland, at least at the start, which entails introducing two new concepts: citizens can initiate a referendum, and can recall elected officials:

"The goal of Direct Democracy Ireland organisation is to create a political party that will field candidates, in all constituencies, in the next General Election. The aim of Direct Democracy Ireland is to introduce a system of direct democracy in Ireland, which will entail, at a minimum, the right of the people to:

1. Initiative – Any citizen can collect a certain number of signatures, (a certain % of the population), to call a referendum.

2. Referendum – The referendum will empower the people to negate Ministerial decisions, or Government legislation, such as NAMA.

3. Recall – A mechanism will also be introduced whereby politicians can be ‘fired’ if they are not performing their job to the satisfaction of the electorate.
Direct Democracy Ireland Blog Archive Welcome to Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI)

I think these are very workable proposals.
The proposal sounds very similar to California’s system. If you are interested in the types of issues citizens or the legislature put on the ballot in California there is a list at this link. The “type” in the left column indicates whether the measure was put on the ballot by citizens or the legislature and whether it is a proposed statute or constitutional amendment. There is a button in the right corner for previous years.

California 2010 ballot propositions - Ballotpedia
 

Goban Saor

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3. Recall – A mechanism will also be introduced whereby politicians can be ‘fired’ if they are not performing their job to the satisfaction of the electorate.
Direct Democracy Ireland Blog Archive Welcome to Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI)

I think these are very workable proposals.
recall isnt workable. Since some TDs only 14% of the vote it will be really easy to remove popular and good TDs.

How about no rule? How about let people do what they want all the time?
 

johndodger

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Direct Democracy Ireland are proposing what amounts to 'deliberative democracy' for Ireland, at least at the start, which entails introducing two new concepts: citizens can initiate a referendum, and can recall elected officials:

"The goal of Direct Democracy Ireland organisation is to create a political party that will field candidates, in all constituencies, in the next General Election. The aim of Direct Democracy Ireland is to introduce a system of direct democracy in Ireland, which will entail, at a minimum, the right of the people to:

1. Initiative – Any citizen can collect a certain number of signatures, (a certain % of the population), to call a referendum.

2. Referendum – The referendum will empower the people to negate Ministerial decisions, or Government legislation, such as NAMA.

3. Recall – A mechanism will also be introduced whereby politicians can be ‘fired’ if they are not performing their job to the satisfaction of the electorate.
Direct Democracy Ireland Blog Archive Welcome to Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI)

I think these are very workable proposals.
Yes I'm aware of these proposals and they all seem worthy but, in the case of citizens being able to call referendums - would this work here or would people vote to get rid of unpopular (but perhaps necessary) legislation or policies? For example, the abolition of NAMA or all the quangos, or overturning the income and health levies?
 

MickO'Toole

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Yes I'm aware of these proposals and they all seem worthy but, in the case of citizens being able to call referendums - would this work here or would people vote to get rid of unpopular (but perhaps necessary) legislation or policies? For example, the abolition of NAMA or all the quangos, or overturning the income and health levies?
This is not a new concept in Ireland:

"The people of Ireland previously did have Direct Democratic powers in the Constitution of the Irish Free State (1922). In this Constitution, Articles 47 & 48 gave the sovereign people of Ireland the power to initiate referendum. In the same document, Article 50 gave the Oireachtas the power to amend the constitution if the newly amended constitution is put up for a referendum vote within 2 years. In 1928 the Irish Democracy was severely weakened when the presiding Oireachtas amended the constitution by removing Articles 47 & 48. This one act ended the people’s right to initiate referendum as a way to have a final say in the political decision making process."
Direct Democracy Ireland About

The Sunday Independent recently did a poll on NAMA and 95% of people were opposed to it. It has mortgaged our futures to the tune of approx 500bn. Future generations will oppose this on the basis of it being taxation without representation.

Was it really necessary? We don't know, because we don't even have access to the underlying information and advice. Under a system of direct democracy all that information would be freely available, and people could make informed decisions.

Could it really be any worse than the system we have now?
 

toughbutfair

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Yes - but only for people who can pass a test (not based on opinions but facts). Why let the stupid have as much say as the smart?
 

kerdasi amaq

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de Valera was careful not to re-indroduce the idea in his 1937 Constitution.

It was taken out to stop de Valera forcing a Referendum on the Oath of Allegiance. A very undemocratic move by the Free State Government.
 

Cassandra Syndrome

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Yes Direct Democracy is the only way. Kenneth Arrow wrote a lot about this in determining social choice in the 1950s.

Anything short of Direct Democracy is a dictatorship.
 

MickO'Toole

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Yes Direct Democracy is the only way. Kenneth Arrow wrote a lot about this in determining social choice in the 1950s.

Anything short of Direct Democracy is a dictatorship.
Thanks for the Kenneth Arrow reference. I found an article, quoting him widely:

"In fact, a democracy would work better if the people voted directly on separate issues rather than having their representatives vote on bundles produced by the parties. Contra conventional conservatism, direct democracy is actually better than representative government."

What’s So Good About Democracy? | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty
 

Cogadh

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We can't have direct democracy while we don't have a free press. Only when traditional media is destroyed can there be direct democracy.

That being said some sort of recall feature would be good as a first step.
 

arcadeparade

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As long as the wealth is owned by a tiny minority, no amount of tinkering with the system will cange how the country is run.

Whats the point in aving direct democracy like in california, when no matter how popular the proposals are they cant be paid for.

We need to go further and have direct ecomonic democracy too, everyone should have a say in how the wealth is spent.
 


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