How will the Electoral Commission reshape Irish elections?
The Electoral Commission is a newly established state body set up to oversee elections in Ireland. Taking on a range of existing electoral functions, it will also be responsible for deciding on the number of TDs in the Dáil and the boundaries and size of each constituency and local election area. The first report from the Commission on constituency boundaries is due out at the end of August. So what can we expect from it? To talk through the changes coming down the tracks for the electoral system and the wider impact on political parties, Hugh is joined by Cormac McQuinn, political scientist and lecturer with UCC Dr Theresa Reidy and Maynooth University lecturer Dr Adrian Kavanagh.
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Sinn Féin gain, no giveaway budget, Leo on Benefits Street33:29Harry McGee and Pat Leahy join Hugh Linehan to discuss the week in politics:The latest Irish Times / Ipsos opinion poll shows Sinn Féin continuing to gain. Other poll results foreshadow the potential for difficult negotiations if the party needs to form a coalition with Fianna Fáil.Beyond the next election, the poll shows long term problems for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael when it comes to attracting young voters. Budget 2024 is just over a week away and for now the message is that this will not be a pre-election giveaway - but will that hold?Taoiseach Leo Varadkar dropped an unusual and somewhat controversial reference this week, prompting our panel to speculate about his TV viewing habits.Plus the panel select their favourite reads of the week:Without even mentioning the song, Diarmaid Ferriter has (hopefully) the last work on Zombiegate.Michael McDowell calls for a new agency to reverse Dublin's declineAnd Pat commends our reporters' wide coverage of this week's historic drugs bust.
Why can't more of us vote in Seanad elections?35:08A constitutional stopwatch is now ticking for the way in which some senators are elected. And it’s finally time for the Seanad reform which successive governments have promised but failed to deliver. That’s according to Tomás Heneghan, the University of Limerick graduate who won a landmark Supreme Court case earlier this year over being denied the right to vote for the upper houses’s university seats. On today's podcast he talks to Hugh and Pat about his historic case and how complying with it could cause problems for the coalition.
Disturbance at Dáil Éireann49:12Our Friday wrap of the week returns with the start of the new political season. Jennifer Bray, Jack Horgan-Jones and Pat Leahy join Hugh to discuss the week in politics: What should we call the ugly scenes outside Dáil Éireann this week - and what sort of response should there be? As politicians gear up for a period with lots of elections, is Taoiseach Leo Varadkar creating friction with his coalition partners? The concerns of farmers were in focus at the Ploughing Championships this week - as was their dislike of the Greens. Plus the panel nominate their favourite IT articles of the week, including: Justine McCarthy on a growing healthcare controversyNaomi O'Leary on Ireland's risky exposure to the Chinese economyand Roísín Ingle's paean to the joys of day-drinking.
Can Britain ever come to terms with Brexit?46:57Peter Foster tells today’s Irish Times Inside Politics podcast that, while polls show a majority of British voters now think it was a mistake to leave the European Union, it is unlikely any UK government in the foreseeable future will seek to rejoin. What is needed instead, the Financial Times journalist says, is greater honesty on the subject from political leaders, in particular from Keir Starmer’s Labour party, which currently looks set to win next year’s general election. In his new book What Went Wrong With Brexit and What To Do About It, Peter argues the UK is facing a future of stagnation and decline unless its political leaders start to confront the challenges posed by Brexit.What Went Wrong With Brexit and What To Do About It is published by Canongate.
'Sinn Féin have pissed a lot of people off' - Aoife Moore on the struggle to write about Ireland's biggest party39:10How hard it is it to write a tell-all book about Sinn Féin, a political party known among journalists for its secrecy and its on-message discipline? Aoife Moore, author of The Long Game, a new book on the party, was expecting at least some cooperation - but it didn't really work out that way. Of those few who were willing to talk, she says, many had their own motives. In the Mindfield area at this year's Electric Picnic festival, Aoife sat down with Pat Leahy and Harry McGee to talk about the book, the party and its leaders, past and present.
Paschal Donohoe on spending v saving, RTÉ's future and Fine Gael's vigour44:23October 10th is Budget Day, so it is the time of the year for politicians and lobbyists to make their cases for extra spending and tax cuts in 2024.It will be a year when Ireland is forecast to run a surplus of over €10 billion, leaving lots of room to manoeuvre, and plenty of decisions in the hands of Minister for Finance Michael McGrath and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe.On today's podcast Mr Donohoe joins Hugh and Pat to talk about Budget 2024. Of specific measures, the Minister gives little away. But he does provide an insight into his thinking about the balancing act that must be struck. They also discuss the risk posed to stability by unpredictable corporate tax receipts, the future for RTÉ and whether Fine Gael still has something to offer in government beyond the next election.And Mr Donohoe takes the opportunity to criticise Pat's argument that the Government is short on ideas.
Licence fee revolt, speed solutions, think-ins39:52Harry McGee and Cormac McQuinn join Pat Leahy to talk about the big political stories of the week:News that RTÉ licence fee receipts have continued to plummet will be of concern when the Cabinet meets this weekA spike in road deaths is another issue for the coalition to grapple withPolitical party think-in season is about to commence, but the annual events are not what they used to be, lament our correspondents.Plus: Northern Editor Freya McClements on the waning prospects of a restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the attrition a lack of leadership is causing to day-to-day lives of citizens. What is in the mind of DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, in whose hands powersharing lies?
More seats and new constituencies: a first look at the redrawn electoral map39:53The Electoral Commission has published its highly anticipated constituency review which, as expected, recommends an increase in the number of Dáil seats to let representation keep pace with population growth. The review, which is expected to be approved by the Dáil, also recommends the creation of new constituencies and the adjustment of others. But what does it all mean for voters and politicians? Cormac McQuinn and Harry McGee join Pat Leahy to dig into the review.
Crime on the public's mind, politicians brace for constituency reform36:00Pat Leahy and Jennifer Bray join Hugh to discuss the big stories of the past few weeks: Is Minister for Media Catherine Martin at risk of seeming too passive in her handling of the RTÉ payments controversy? The Electoral Commission will shortly reveal new constituency boundaries, amounting to a new political landscape for voters and politicians to get to grips with. And politicians are extremely keen to see what it will mean for them. The issue of crime on city streets is a difficult one for politicians like Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to handle - especially when there is little agreement on what exactly, or how severe, the problem really is. An Irish Times report revealed that Ireland will provide weapons training to Ukrainian soldiers. The news has prompted questions about whether the plan violates military neutrality. Could the policy cause strife between the coalition partners? Thanks to everyone who got in touch about The Bertie Years. Tell us what political history you would like Inside Politics to cover next by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.