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Constitutional Convention

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 7,240 ✭✭✭ RangeR


    Couldn't think of another place top post this and couldn't see another thread on the subject.

    Anyone willing to say if they are one of the 66? I'm starting to hear a little chatter on the media airwaves over the past while.


«13456711

Comments

  • #2


    Needs somewhat more explanation! From the IT:
    Next Saturday the members of the constitutional convention will meet in Dublin. The convention comes out of the last general election campaign, in which all parties committed to reforming the political system.

    Potentially one of the most interesting reforms is the way in which future changes to the Constitution might be proposed. Whereas normally the government of the day proposes changes put to the people in a referendum, the convention gives some power of proposal to an assembly of 66 ordinary citizens and 33 elected politicians (from the Oireachtas and the Northern Ireland Assembly).

    In setting up the convention the Oireachtas passed a motion to allow it to look at eight topics, including the provision for same-sex marriage, the position of women in Irish society, a number of changes to the political system and removing the offence of blasphemy.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/1126/1224327094228.html

    Hence "one of the 66".

    cordially,
    Scofflaw


  • #2


    why are politicians from the north being given a say in our constitution? Seems a bit off, unless one of the goals is the adoption of it by Northern Ireland?


  • #2


    it will be so ineffectual it hard to get upset over

    anyway the point of randyr post is that 66 public members can be anonymous http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/1115/1224326607475.html

    i don't know if i'd like to picked and then have my life scrutinised by the papers...


  • #2


    I was one of the 66 but I pulled out last week after. When I was asked to do it the whole idea was that is was anonymous and we could state our opinion. Then it suddenly became that the entire thing was going to be shown on the internet if you spoke and your name and details would be placed in the paper.
    I know people are going on about who are these people all the time and they are probably political appointees and friends of politicians. I am neither. In July I was asked to fill out a survey by B and A. The guy told me they were having problems getting people to sign up as people wouldn't commit a weekend a month for one year.
    Everyone is saying that they need to be named in order for the Convention to be transparent. However, it was originally stated as more of an informed survey of the nation.
    Having read comments and rather horrible stuff about the individuals I am glad I pulled out. The 66 are getting a bad name because of the 33 politicians. The difference is the 66 are not paid for what they are doing and they are being villainised to an extent in the media.


  • #2


    why are politicians from the north being given a say in our constitution? Seems a bit off, unless one of the goals is the adoption of it by Northern Ireland?
    Obviously the people who set up the convention had a greater appreciation of Irish history, the current political landscape, and were less narrow minded than you.


  • #2


    I was one of the 66 but I pulled out last week after. When I was asked to do it the whole idea was that is was anonymous and we could state our opinion. Then it suddenly became that the entire thing was going to be shown on the internet if you spoke and your name and details would be placed in the paper.
    I know people are going on about who are these people all the time and they are probably political appointees and friends of politicians. I am neither. In July I was asked to fill out a survey by B and A. The guy told me they were having problems getting people to sign up as people wouldn't commit a weekend a month for one year.
    Everyone is saying that they need to be named in order for the Convention to be transparent. However, it was originally stated as more of an informed survey of the nation.
    Having read comments and rather horrible stuff about the individuals I am glad I pulled out. The 66 are getting a bad name because of the 33 politicians. The difference is the 66 are not paid for what they are doing and they are being villainised to an extent in the media.

    The constitution is the important basic document of our state, upon which every other institution, law and procedure is based. Being involved - even in a slight way - with drafting its reform *is* a public role. If you're not comfortable with taking on that public role, then you did the right thing excusing yourself from it.

    For my own part, I find the secrecy around who is involved in the convention to be deeply disturbing. I couldn't care less about the personal lives of the people involved, but it bothers me that they're too ashamed to stand over their own actions in the convention even in a large group where they could disavow personal responsibility. Secrecy in policy-making has always led to bad outcomes in Ireland. The only saving grace for this convention may be that its ineffectual as well as badly conceived - other than removing the ridiculous blasphemy ban its difficult to see what they can do that's useful, but a lot they can do that's harmful.

    The real shame will be that FG will think "Well, that's the reform sorted out - now back to dividing up the spoils of victory!"


  • #2


    The lack of publicity and information is a huge mistake here. These people are going to recommend fundamental changes to the Constitution, and the general public are mostly unaware of the Convention. This thread should have a 1000 posts on it by now.


  • #2


    I don't think their power is very great to be honest. They vote on a particular issue which is then written up in a report and sent to the Government who then make a decision whether to proceed with a referendum or not. Ultimately it is still coming down to the Government making the decisions. Personally I think the convention is an exercise in futility.


  • #2


    Personally I think the convention is an exercise in futility.
    It will be if it is undersold. We could have easily used a process like this
    http://gigaom.com/europe/icelanders-approve-their-crowdsourced-constitution/


  • #2


    I am one of the 66. I'm looking for your vote.


  • #2


    Obviously the people who set up the convention had a greater appreciation of Irish history, the current political landscape, and were less narrow minded than you.

    like it or not the north is a separate state and should not have an input into our constitution no more than England of France or anyone else.


  • #2


    Saw Gerry was wearing shades when being interviewed on the RTE news last night. Maybe his eyesight is failing (like his memory)?

    Is there public access to the convention? If not, there should be.


  • #2


    Esel wrote: »
    Is there public access to the convention? If not, there should be.

    All plenary sessions are streamed live on www.constitution.ie. Actual round table talks are in private.


  • #2


    anyway they say that... Agreement to disclose names and general geographic area - 66 citizen members. All contact should be via the Constutional Convention


  • #2


    I was one of the 66 but I pulled out last week after. When I was asked to do it the whole idea was that is was anonymous and we could state our opinion. Then it suddenly became that the entire thing was going to be shown on the internet if you spoke and your name and details would be placed in the paper.
    I know people are going on about who are these people all the time and they are probably political appointees and friends of politicians. I am neither. In July I was asked to fill out a survey by B and A. The guy told me they were having problems getting people to sign up as people wouldn't commit a weekend a month for one year.
    Everyone is saying that they need to be named in order for the Convention to be transparent. However, it was originally stated as more of an informed survey of the nation.
    Having read comments and rather horrible stuff about the individuals I am glad I pulled out. The 66 are getting a bad name because of the 33 politicians. The difference is the 66 are not paid for what they are doing and they are being villainised to an extent in the media.

    senator susan o'keefe said she glad to one of 100 citizens at the convention :)


  • #2


    anyway they say that... Agreement to disclose names and general geographic area - 66 citizen members. All contact should be via the Constutional Convention

    We, the 66, have agreed to be identified in general terms. This was our choice. We have a Constitutional RIGHT to privacy. You have no RIGHT to know who we are. Having said that, it was agreed at our first meeting that it may calm some pubic concerns if our general details were released. We were asked to comply, not ordered.

    For example, my Name is Keith Burke. I'm in my 30's and I live in Co. Kildare. That's it. That's all we agreed to. We our doing are civic duty. We are not public figures. I also know it's not hard to find my home address. But I guarantee you, if ANYONE harasses me at home or work [or attempts to make me more identifiable], I will inflict the full measures of the law on them. That, and / or I'll end this process of debate.

    Just think about it, how would YOU feel if your address was published?


    Secondly, as far as the communication to be directed to the Constitutional Convention, namely the Chairperson. The main aim of the initial assertion is that interested parties [read lobby groups] are NOT to harass the 66 citizens but rather put their questions / comments to Mr Tom Arnold. He will then bring them to us. Failure to comply will mean that they will be excluded from the process that they are lobbying for. If anyone wants to talk to any or all of the 66, then they should approach the convention and request it. Go from there.

    I have decided to waive my anonymity and actually allow the members of boards.ie to have a say in the process. Don't abuse it [directed generally].


  • #2


    senator susan o'keefe said she glad to one of 99 citizens at the convention :)

    That's a poxymoron if I ever heard one :)

    Of course she is a citizen. But she is also classed as a politician. One of the 33.

    I'm curious, which one of the 100 is she saying ISN'T a citizen?


  • #2


    RangeR wrote: »
    That's a poxymoron if I ever heard one :)

    Of course she is a citizen. But she is also classed as a politician. One of the 33.

    I'm curious, which one of the 100 is she saying ISN'T a citizen?

    sorry, being there with the other 99 citizens is how she phrased it

    course she was put into the seanad by other politicians


  • #2


    anyway they say that... Agreement to disclose names and general geographic area - 66 citizen members. All contact should be via the Constutional Convention

    That seems entirely agreeable and reassuring - I agree that anyone trying to target individuals to communicate with and influence them should be dealt with to the full force of the law. They're supposed to be a general sampling of the population - not water carriers for various lobby groups.


  • #2


    The idea that you could be identified really got to me if I am to be honest. I have a very unique name. I once received a letter from abroad with my:
    Full Name,
    Town,
    Ireland.
    Really odd how it arrived in my house. I have a background in law and was interested in doing it but thought the stress would get to me as I am a very reserved person.

    It will be interesting to see the citizens' recommendations and opinions. There is a danger in the plenary sessions that they would be hijacked by politicians looking to grand stand.


  • #2


    RangeR wrote: »
    We, the 66, have agreed to be identified in general terms. This was our choice. We have a Constitutional RIGHT to privacy. You have no RIGHT to know who we are. Having said that, it was agreed at our first meeting that it may calm some pubic concerns if our general details were released. We were asked to comply, not ordered.

    For example, my Name is Keith Burke. I'm in my 30's and I live in Co. Kildare. That's it. That's all we agreed to. We our doing are civic duty. We are not public figures. I also know it's not hard to find my home address. But I guarantee you, if ANYONE harasses me at home or work [or attempts to make me more identifiable], I will inflict the full measures of the law on them. That, and / or I'll end this process of debate.

    Just think about it, how would YOU feel if your address was published?

    Secondly, as far as the communication to be directed to the Constitutional Convention, namely the Chairperson. The main aim of the initial assertion is that interested parties [read lobby groups] are NOT to harass the 66 citizens but rather put their questions / comments to Mr Tom Arnold. He will then bring them to us. Failure to comply will mean that they will be excluded from the process that they are lobbying for. If anyone wants to talk to any or all of the 66, then they should approach the convention and request it. Go from there.

    I have decided to waive my anonymity and actually allow the members of boards.ie to have a say in the process. Don't abuse it [directed generally].


    Keith,

    I understand that you had no role in dreaming up this idea of a constitutional convention, but you and the other 65 unelected people in the convention simply have no electoral mandate from anybody. The idea that unelected people have a role in the reform of our most basic laws is completely undemocratic.

    For better or worse the politicians in the Dail put their names forward, were subject to public scrutiny & debate and were elected in a competitive election. You and the other 65 unelected delegates have done none of those things.

    The reform of the constitution is unquestionably political, if you don't agree with this than I don't think you truly know what politics is.

    The Irish people know nothing about the character, political opinions or potential conflicts of interest of any of the 66 unelected members. I am sorry but if you are going to have a say in the formation of the most basic laws in my country we deserve to know more than just your name.


  • #2


    JDOF wrote: »
    you and the other 65 unelected people in the convention simply have no electoral mandate from anybody. The idea that unelected people have a role in the reform of our most basic laws is completely undemocratic.
    How else do you propose that a fundamental review of the constitution takes place? Let's say you had 100 members composed entirely of elected representatives - do you think that they are likely to put forward proposals for radical reform of the systems by which they were elected? At best it's a recipe for political stagnation, at worst it would be a recipe for creating an entrenched political elite.

    And besides, the Convention has no power to make actual changes. At best they can offer options to the government of the day, who then can decide whether or not they are willing to put the option to a referendum. The Convention has moral authority and no more.


  • #2


    hmmm wrote: »
    How else do you propose that a fundamental review of the constitution takes place? Let's say you had 100 members composed entirely of elected representatives - do you think that they are likely to put forward proposals for radical reform of the systems by which they were elected? At best it's a recipe for political stagnation, at worst it would be a recipe for creating an entrenched political elite.

    And besides, the Convention has no power to make actual changes. At best they can offer options to the government of the day, who then can decide whether or not they are willing to put the option to a referendum. The Convention has moral authority and no more.

    This "entrenched political elite" that you're talking about are the people that we elected. They didn't land in on us from Mars, we voted for them. In a democracy we get the politicians that we deserve.

    Why can't our elected politicians come up with their own suggestions? Convention is a glorified focus group posing as real reform.


  • #2


    I believe you have a basic misunderstanding of the role of the convention. However, nice first post and welcome to boards.

    Let me answer your points, one by one.

    JDOF wrote: »
    I understand that you had no role in dreaming up this idea of a constitutional convention, but you and the other 65 unelected people in the convention simply have no electoral mandate from anybody. The idea that unelected people have a role in the reform of our most basic laws is completely undemocratic.
    I, as I'm sure the rest of the 66 are, am well aware that I have no electoral mandate. I have no intent [within the convention] of changing any laws. What I DO intend, as a representative of our country is to propose changes to our law makers, so that they can decide whether to bring them to the entire nation. Make no mistake, the constitution is OUR constitution. It's mine, it's yours, it's everyone's. It cannot be changed by 66 selected citizens. Any change MUST go to referendum.

    I have decided to forgo with my general anonymity and approach boards.ie in the hope of allowing AS MANY CITIZENS AS POSSIBLE have their say, in the recommendations that I make [as part of the convention] to government.
    JDOF wrote: »
    For better or worse the politicians in the Dail put their names forward, were subject to public scrutiny & debate and were elected in a competitive election. You and the other 65 unelected delegates have done none of those things.
    I have answered this already. I question the need to identify ourselves. We are ordinary citizens with our own fears and reservations. Having said that, we have agreed to allow our general information to be identified. The very fact that there are unelected representatives, I believe, is to get away from party politics. As I alluded to here or the other thread [there are only two], party politics was starting to kick off behind closed doors on Saturday. Not to any big extent but you could put it down to they are used to public speaking. We 66 aren't. We will find our feet VERY quickly and learn to speak up for ourselves. There is a learning curve and that is also one of the reasons I came to boards with this.
    JDOF wrote: »
    The reform of the constitution is unquestionably political, if you don't agree with this than I don't think you truly know what politics is.
    Maybe. I'm no expert in the field. This also allows me to think outside of the box and not be tied to "traditional politics".
    JDOF wrote: »
    The Irish people know nothing about the character, political opinions or potential conflicts of interest of any of the 66 unelected members. I am sorry but if you are going to have a say in the formation of the most basic laws in my country we deserve to know more than just your name.
    I would surmise that this is the crux of the problem. I'm not trying to directly change any laws or the constitution. You, nor any citizen, need to know my character. All you need to know is that, as a group, we are representative of the population. We were randomly chosen. It's not as if Enda Kenny said "Right, I want 40 'citizens' from my constituency to be on the panel or else". The government had no part to play in this.

    In fact, on Saturday, I spoke to a major politician from one of the big two. I could tell within seconds that he did not like me at all. I could see the grimace in his face when I spoke up for myself. The conversation didn't last long. But I'm not there to make him happy. I'm there to represent my country to the best of MY ability. I couldn't give two ****s about what the politics think.

    I'm not looking to change the formation of the most basic laws in OUR country. I'm looking to present a wider view to the government of potential changes. Any changes that are deemed "worthy" will be put to everyone in the form of referendums.

    I have no problem debating this with you further, if you desire. All I ask in return, is politeness.


  • #2


    If you thought there was a lack of politeness in my post, I apologise, I assure you that was not at all my intention.

    My criticism is of the Convention process, not of you personally or any of the 66 unelected members, and I commend your openness for discussing this in a public forum.

    I do understand that the powers of the convention are limited, but it is not completely toothless. My basic point still stands, the convention is a public forum which will make recommendations on constitutional reform. If it is to exist at all, it should have a democratic mandate.

    I have no reason to doubt that you are an honest decent citizen like most of the country, but we have to take your word for it, and that is a big problem.

    (One last suggestion is that we dispense with the term "ordinary" citizen. There are not grades of citizenship, we are all ordinary citizens.)


  • #2


    JDOF wrote: »
    If you thought there was a lack of politeness in my post, I apologise, I assure you that was not at all my intention.

    My criticism is of the Convention process, not of you personally or any of the 66 unelected members, and I commend your openness for discussing this in a public forum.

    I do understand that the powers of the convention are limited, but it is not completely toothless. My basic point still stands, the convention is a public forum which will make recommendations on constitutional reform. If it is to exist at all, it should have a democratic mandate.

    I have no reason to doubt that you are an honest decent citizen like most of the country, but we have to take your word for it, and that is a big problem.

    (One last suggestion is that we dispense with the term "ordinary" citizen. There are not grades of citizenship, we are all ordinary citizens.)

    Totally understand. My politeness comment wasn't directed at yourself, specifically, but in general. I'm sure heated debate will ensue at times. To that, I welcome. Inevitably, heated debate often turns into name calling and abuse, especially when "politics" is involved :) No offence intended

    You will [might] get to know my character over time, as with all good meetings. My intent is to engage with the wider pubic. I don't intend to be silent in the convention. I fully intend to take some submissions from boards, to the convention and be heard.

    Now, don't read too much into the previous statement. We don't have an infinite amount of time to discuss ALL of the constitution. I would love to bring everything, time just wouldn't allow it. We shall all decide what submissions I bring. If there is no consensus, then I will just decide. Prioritise and deliver. I know that's not entirely democratic and some won't be happy but there is only so much time something can be debated. I'm hoping to make some submissions at our first meeting in January [proposed 26/27, location to be decided].

    I intend to be fully transparent about the process [just don't "out me"*]. I will do my best to report back on the status of each submission. I have already requested, directly to Mr Arnold, that we meet twice a month rather than once as I fear that we just don't have enough time. Think about it. We will be in session for a year, or close to it. In that time, we will meet only 8 times. It's ridiculous.

    *Fully aware that this is easy. But you don't have to make it easy for everyone. If I am outed, that will be the last conversation had with that person or group as that's just wrong.


  • #2


    RangeR wrote: »

    Totally understand. My politeness comment wasn't directed at yourself, specifically, but in general. I'm sure heated debate will ensue at times. To that, I welcome. Inevitably, heated debate often turns into name calling and abuse, especially when "politics" is involved :) No offence intended

    You will [might] get to know my character over time, as with all good meetings. My intent is to engage with the wider pubic. I don't intend to be silent in the convention. I fully intend to take some submissions from boards, to the convention and be heard.

    Now, don't read too much into the previous statement. We don't have an infinite amount of time to discuss ALL of the constitution. I would love to bring everything, time just wouldn't allow it. We shall all decide what submissions I bring. If there is no consensus, then I will just decide. Prioritise and deliver. I know that's not entirely democratic and some won't be happy but there is only so much time something can be debated. I'm hoping to make some submissions at our first meeting in January [proposed 26/27, location to be decided].

    I intend to be fully transparent about the process [just don't "out me"*]. I will do my best to report back on the status of each submission. I have already requested, directly to Mr Arnold, that we meet twice a month rather than once as I fear that we just don't have enough time. Think about it. We will be in session for a year, or close to it. In that time, we will meet only 8 times. It's ridiculous.

    [SIZE="1"][COLOR="Silver"]*Fully aware that this is easy. But you don't have to make it easy for everyone. If I am outed, that will be the last conversation had with that person or group as that's just wrong.[/COLOR][/SIZE]


    Again I commend your openness and your obvious enthusiasm for the job you've taken on.

    If there had been an election for a convention I might even have voted for you.

    However there wasn't and I couldn't and that is my basic problem with the whole process.

    Of course I have no interest in "outing" you or anyone else. But I do think it is unacceptable to have recommendations on the constitution being made by people of whom the Irish public know nothing. But that is a decision for the Convention itself not an online forum.

    I wish you all the best but I guess we will have to agree to disagree.


  • #2


    JDOF wrote: »
    This "entrenched political elite" that you're talking about are the people that we elected. They didn't land in on us from Mars, we voted for them. In a democracy we get the politicians that we deserve.
    In a democracy we get the politicians that find it easiest to be elected under the current electoral system.

    The current system, as an example, is hugely over-represented by teachers who are free to run for office knowing a job is there for them if they fail to win election.

    The current system favours politicians who are active on small, local, parish-pump issues.

    The current system favours political parties, particularly current parties.

    The current system does not allow for outside expertise to run departments, a la the US system.


  • #2


    hmmm wrote: »
    In a democracy we get the politicians that find it easiest to be elected under the current electoral system.

    The current system, as an example, is hugely over-represented by teachers who are free to run for office knowing a job is there for them if they fail to win election.

    The current system favours politicians who are active on small, local, parish-pump issues.

    The current system favours political parties, particularly current parties.

    The current system does not allow for outside expertise to run departments, a la the US system.

    I agree with most of that actually. Plenty of common ground.

    You're absolutely right that teachers and others who can take sabbaticals from secure employment are more likely to stand. In fact I think a good suggestion for reform would be to have a system where people had statutory paid leave (like maternity leave) to run for public office. Would give more people financial security to run for office.

    Also correct that system, especially campaign finance laws are set up to assist incumbents. In fact system of public funding is almost certainly unconstitutional a la McKenna judgement. Will be struck down as soon as someone challenges it.

    But the reason we have lots of "parish pump" politicians is that they get more votes than the other guys. There's nobody forcing the people of Kerry to vote for the Healy-Raes or the people of Tipp to vote for Mattie McGrath.


  • #2


    JDOF wrote: »
    Again I commend your openness and your obvious enthusiasm for the job you've taken on.

    If there had been an election for a convention I might even have voted for you.

    However there wasn't and I couldn't and that is my basic problem with the whole process.

    Of course I have no interest in "outing" you or anyone else. But I do think it is unacceptable to have recommendations on the constitution being made by people of whom the Irish public know nothing. But that is a decision for the Convention itself not an online forum.

    I wish you all the best but I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

    No offence intended, but I think there's a basic misunderstanding there. The Convention is an ideas forum, and you realistically can't elect people with a mandate to give a particular recommendation before any convention has been held.

    The suggestion that we should elect the citizen members of the convention is self-contradicting in another way as well - it would mean that the people with the best chance of election would be those who are in some way tied to the existing political parties, and those most likely to put themselves forward are those with such ties, or representing some special interest or other, all of which are entirely undesirable in this case.

    The principle of selecting people at random rather than electing is the same one we use in jury duty, and for much the same reasons in both cases - here, we don't want a body of self-selected people, almost certainly drawn from the usual Irish circle of the politically interested. We want thinking from outside the political box.

    As to whether those people will take seriously their duty to represent the rest of the Irish people, in the sense of wanting and trying to take on board what recommendations other people would have made in their place - I don't see any reason why they wouldn't do so. People, in general, take such duties as seriously as one might wish them to, which is how society actually manages to function at all.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw


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