Constituency Review Submission from Jonathan Hanley
Submission ID: S80
My proposal/observation aligns more to a longterm review of how Irelands electoral system operates.
Ireland’s current electoral system operates based on multi-seat constituencies and a closed list system of candidate elections.
The main issue with this system is that it inherently breeds constituency based clientelism and what has effectively being called “parish pump’ politics.
The problem with this means of elections is that is limit long term problem solving. Housing and Healthcare are a prime example of this. If local politicians are engrained with their constituencies and if their re-election is dependent on satisfying the whims of their more vocal voting base then it proves extremely difficult to build long term housing projects and make necessary reforms to the healthcare system. If the needs of a local area require the closing and redistribution of local health staff, the local residents are the first to object to these changes
Another instance is housing, local politicians consistently object to housing in their area and while there are many reasons for this, local vocal objections are a core component of most cases.
Many progressive European countries operate based on single seat constituencies and an open list system of elections, this ensure that local td’s don’t have to consistently compete for their seats in each voting block while also allowing for transparency in how candidates are proposed and elected.
Such a system givens politicians room to focus on long term issues that may require unpopular solutions but may be necessary.
This observation/proposal is an outline and would require a working group to examine but is a more sure fire way of dealing with long term problems.