Friday, February 09, 2007

Ceremonial Democracy?

The Irish Examiner reported today that there are plans to replace the current Dáil and Seanad chambers with €100 million "high-tech" ones.
Reports this morning say proposals have been put forward that would see the current chambers used only for ceremonial purposes and new high-tech facilities constructed for day-to-day busines
I haven't been able to find these "reports" so I have a couple of questions.

  • If they keep the two chambers for "ceremonial" purposes, does that mean that new ones will be constructed elsewhere? There is not a lot of space around Leinster House where new buildings could be constructed. Will they move the day-to-day business of Parliament out of Dublin city center? While I personally wouldn't mind moving most of the current set of TD's to an oil rig in the North Atlantic and then removing it from all maps, I do believe that a government and parliament should be in the capital city, it is after all traditional.
  • What do they mean by "high-tech facilities"? Will there actually be new chambers or will all issues now be dealt with at committee and civil servant level? With the Dail Deputies meeting only for ceremonies?
  • Are we looking at the prospect of Dail Deputies "working" from home? It's bad enough when many of them took a vow of silence for the last 5 years but if they didn't even have to show up in Parliament in the first place why the hell are we paying them?

If the current Dail Deputies don't like the current facilities and if they don't want the hassle of meeting just 96 times a year they will have the opportunity to do something about it in the summer. They can stand aside at the next election and let people who want to take part in real democracy take their seats.

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