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  1. #1
    DeGaulle 2.0 DeGaulle 2.0 is offline
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    Shold we have a constitution at all?

    A constitutional convention is being set up at the moment which will look at a number of possible amendments, including the electoral system, gay marriage, etc. but rather than consider relatively minor details, why not look at the bigger picture. Should we have a constitution at all?

    We seem to have a much more restrictive constitution than other countries. We were the only country to hold a referendum on the Fiscal Treaty - other equally democratic countries were able to ratify the treaty through their parliaments. There are a number of issues where our constitution is quite clearly a hindrance - Children's rights, Upward-only rents and Oireachtas Inquiries to name but a few.

    Why do we have to have a referendum on Children's rights? Clearly, there is an overwhelming majority in the Dáil and among the general public for ensuring that children can be protected from abuse. The problem is that the Constitution's protection of the family protects abusive parents. The referendum itself will not be easy to win either - although almost everyone supports the specific intentions of the government, the campaign will inevitably descend into a nasty dishonest mess. One can already visualise the slogans "One call to Childline and your children will be taken away" etc. Imagine how much better it would be if the Dáil could have a rational debate about what is required without having to consider our farcical referendum campaigns.

    The constitution also makes it more difficult to deal with the economic crisis with Upward-Only Rent Reviews being a case in point. The Constitution's protection of property rights makes it impossible to alter these contracts, regardless of the damage that is being done to the economy. Suppose the Dáil could pass a law that would automatically invalidate all Upward-Only reviews, would that not be better?

    At present, the Oireachtas cannot summon witnesses and compel them to appear at inquiries, etc. This makes it very difficult for the Dáil to conduct investigations, etc. A recent referendum to allow the Oireachtas to conduct such inquiries was defeated (although subsequent polls showed that most people actually supported the proposal). The referendum was defeated primarily by the intervention of a group of former Attorneys-General (it is not only the likes of Cóir that engage in scare-mongering).

    Perhaps we should have one last referendum which will simply convert the Constitution into law, which can then be repealed by the Oireachtas as it desires. Let us give the Dáil the power to represent us. Yes, it would mean the Dáil being an "elective dictatorship" like the British House of Commons but what is the problem with that? Look at the Tribunals lasting over a decade and their astronomical costs - a Dáil unhampered by the Constitution could have organised much speedier and more efficient inquiries. It is time for the constitution to go, or to be replaced with a tiny document that basically guarantees free speech and regular free and fair elections.

    Bás don Bhunreacht!
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  2. #2
    Sync Sync is offline
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    Which works until you get a Dail who want to make Haughey Emperor for life.
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  3. #3
    commonman commonman is offline
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    Its ok the way it is ,and it will do me because i dont trust policitians to give them more power .
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  4. #4
    asterix asterix is offline

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    Sometimes it's best to think inside the box.
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  5. #5
    Con Gallagher Con Gallagher is offline

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    Possibly one of the silliest suggestions on this site (clue: think about the 1930's when the Constitution was written a Blueshirts and more serious Fascists threatened the rule of law, think of the reforms of the Walsh Supreme Court, think about governments failing to act until forced by the courts. Just think.)
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  6. #6
    DeGaulle 2.0 DeGaulle 2.0 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sync View Post
    Which works until you get a Dail who want to make Haughey Emperor for life.
    Just as a point of clarification - we never had such a Dáil. The only time Haughey had a Dáil majority was in 79-81, when he barely had the support of half the FF party. There was never any possibility of a majority in the Dáíl awarding special powers (or Emperorship!) to him.
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  7. #7
    commonman commonman is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by asterix View Post
    Sometimes it's best to think inside the box.
    Then every thing would have to change including the dail and i think that is a bigger problem than the constitution.
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  8. #8
    DeGaulle 2.0 DeGaulle 2.0 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Con Gallagher View Post
    Possibly one of the silliest suggestions on this site (clue: think about the 1930's when the Constitution was written a Blueshirts and more serious Fascists threatened the rule of law, think of the reforms of the Walsh Supreme Court, think about governments failing to act until forced by the courts. Just think.)
    The Blueshirts were before the Constitution (whether they threatened the rule of law is for another thread), as was the much more serious civil war.

    I take your point about governments not acting until forced by the courts - but what about governments not acting because the courts won't let them (the necessity of winning a Children's Rights referendum to prevent abuses like Roscommon being a case in point)?

    If you simply wrote the Constitution into law, then the courts could still force governments to act while at the same time governments would be able to easily legislate to cater for abuses like Roscommon.
    Last edited by DeGaulle 2.0; 10th August 2012 at 08:36 PM. Reason: spelling
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  9. #9
    kerdasi amaq kerdasi amaq is offline
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    One can already visualise the slogans "One call to Childline and your children will be taken away" etc. Imagine how much better it would be if the Dáil could have a rational debate about what is required without having to consider our farcical referendum campaigns.
    Rational debate? The only real argument that the proponents of this amendment can make will be based on emotional blackmail. Vote YES or else we will consider you NOes to be vile haters of children.

    The state must have its toes trodden upon so as to induce the professional politicians, and their vile do-gooder hangers on, to respect the People.
    Last edited by kerdasi amaq; 10th August 2012 at 08:41 PM.
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  10. #10
    Mossy Heneberry Mossy Heneberry is offline
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    Our constitution is in place to maintain the rule of law and protect us against the follies and vainglories of politicians.

    Are you seriously suggesting that we can simply throw our lot in with the politicians and place all our trust in them?
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