Mansion House DRC Political Reform Debate

In April 2013, the Dublin Regional Council (DRC) of Young Fine Gael held a debate on Political Reform in the Mansion House, Dublin. The event was an opportunity for members to express their views on how we should reform the political system in Ireland.

In the days prior to the event, members were asked to submit motions for debate. Ten motions were selected in total.
Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD was our guest chair for the event. Mary is a TD for the constituency of Dun Laoghaire and she is a member of the Constitutional Convention.
The event kicked off with some pizza for arriving members, followed by welcomes from our guest chair and members of the DRC.

Then we started the debate on the ten motions. The proposer of each motion spoke for two minutes, and then one minute was given for anyone to oppose the motion. The remaining five minutes was given to the floor for any member to make a comment. At the end the proposer would respond to critics and sum up the arguments for their idea. Finally a vote was taken on each motion.

The most notable result from the motions was a failure to support the abolition of the Seanad by a narrow margin. Motions calling for a list system for European elections, the election of the Ceann Comhairle by secret ballot, the end of free Oireachtas postage and a ban on private sector bailouts were also defeated.
The accepted motions included a call for a centralised voter registration system. This was proposed by Mark O'Meara from Trinity College Dublin YFG branch and it called for the government to link voter registration to your PPS number as a means of avoiding duplication and fraud in the system. This would represent a radical departure from the current set of electoral registers which are managed by local authorities.

A motion calling for the right to die was also accepted, in light of the recent High Court case taken by Marie Fleming on assisted suicide. Michael Lindsay, also from Trinity College Dublin YFG branch, proposed this motion.

The final motions that were accepted came from Eoin Flaherty of UCD and they called for Dáil reform outlined in Fine Gael's New Politics document and for a reform of the budgetary process. These reforms would lead to a stronger committee system and a greater scrutiny of budgets in future.

Overall the event was a huge success and we would hope to host something similar in the future.

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