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Thread: Is there a solution to "Parish Pump" Politics?

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    Politics.ie Member MsAnneThrope's Avatar
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    Default Is there a solution to "Parish Pump" Politics?

    I have seen, as I'm sure you all have, countless cases of Ministers having secured votes based solely on local issues. The proverbial 'pothole' fixing, the approval/disapproval of a certain development, a promise to secure funding for a local organisation etc. I've seen a serving minister arrive in a pub with a catering van in tow, handing out baskets of cocktail sausages and sandwiches, with a free round of drinks for the locals, followed by a quick tour of the pub asking "Can I get your vote now Johnny?". Inevitably no or few policy questions are ever asked and on the day of the elections the only consideration is "He bought me a pint and a few sausages" so he gets my #1.

    This is madness. I'd like your views on whether this could ever be changed? Could a candidate from Cork be forced to run in Dublin (and vice versa) on national interest policies and merit/intelligence/sincerity/track record etc.? A Mayo candidate has to get elected in Meath (and vice versa) etc.

    Surely there are enough local councillors (who sadly often get elected the same way) to deal with the local pothole issues. But when it comes to the National Interest and the running of the country for the benefit of the entire population we need a better system?

    My understanding is a new Garda cannot serve in his/her local town/area for obvious reasons of potential conflict of interest. Why can't the same ideology be applied when it comes to electing our Government?

    Is there a solution to "Parish Pump" Politics?
    We all love animals. Why do we call some 'pets' and others 'dinner'?

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    Large multi seat constituencies would be a good start. Eg nine or ten seaters can be done without the need for a referendum (which could be lost).
    TDs having to attend the dail on mondays and fridays to claim expenses would also help provide distance from the parishes.
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    Off topic I know but relates to the greatest parish pump politician of them all Willie O' Dea. I heard a rumour this morning that his car was attacked and vandalised in Limerick but haven't seen any press on it. Anyone out there in the know?

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    Less TD's thus resulting in larger constituencies

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    Quote Originally Posted by MsAnneThrope View Post
    This is madness. I'd like your views on whether this could ever be changed? Could a candidate from Cork be forced to run in Dublin (and vice versa) on national interest policies and merit/intelligence/sincerity/track record etc.? A Mayo candidate has to get elected in Meath (and vice versa) etc.
    I don't think it's a problem that can be sorted out easily, but you are right, it is a problem, and it's hardly just an Irish problem: I think that it's an intrinsic part of politics and human nature.

    People will vote for the person who does something for them personally (and vice versa) and will fail to see the bigger social, political picture. Better civic education in schools could address this, but it would never go away.

    I think it's good in this situation to try to look to other countries and see what they have done to address the issue, or whether they have addressed it at all.

    Some people can't be helped though. They will vote for a person for silly reasons, often against their own interests (often without realizing it).

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    Gimpanzee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Question R24U View Post
    Large multi seat constituencies would be a good start. Eg nine or ten seaters can be done without the need for a referendum (which could be lost).
    TDs having to attend the dail on mondays and fridays to claim expenses would also help provide distance from the parishes.
    Doesn't work in rural constituencies. Even 3 seater constituencies are divided into informal fiefdoms. It would be replicated in 7+ seaters.

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    Politics.ie Member FrankSpeaks's Avatar
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    The list system is one way but I don't know how independents (whom I think are an essential) will fare out in it.

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    Gimpanzee is right. Larger multi seat constituencies wouldn't make much difference.

    We despartely need a list system for General Elections and keep with the current set up for locals.

    The end result would be better local govt and a far higher calibre of TDs.

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    Politics.ie Member DeathKnell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gimpanzee View Post
    Doesn't work in rural constituencies. Even 3 seater constituencies are divided into informal fiefdoms. It would be replicated in 7+ seaters.
    Ya.. You got to reduce the number of TDs.. A Maximum of 1 per 50/60k people. That reduces the effect of dissapointing one pot-hole/hospital/whatever pressure group and would ensure a more regional focus..

    You will never get rid of graft and patronage.. We can but make it harder to have an effect..
    Originally Posted by The Red Rose of Cork
    I dont care about "the majority of people"

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    Politics.ie Member myk's Avatar
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    I think a vigorous civic campaign highlighting the prevalance and the failings of parish pump politics about one year before the scheduled end of the current Dail would be helpful.

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