New Politics – Building a New Republic

4th November, 2010

Fine Gael’s New Politics will build a New Republic, radically overhaul the political process and replace a failed political system that is at the heart of Ireland’s economic failure.


What will the plan achieve?
•Sweep away the old ways of doing business
•Give our country a political system that is fit for purpose in the 21st century
•A Government that is held to account
•Restoration of trust in our democratic systems
•Citizens rather than the elites are at the centre of Government

Four principles of the Plan
1.A Single Chamber Oireachtas
2.A New Dail – expand the role of TDs to hold the Government to account
3.Open Government – opening it up to outside scrutiny and making political funding more transparent
4.Empowering the Citizen – giving local communities and individuals more power over their own lives

Fine Gael will:
•Reduce the number of TDs by 20
•Hold a Referendum to abolish the Seanad
•Provide a vote in Presedential elections for Irish citizens living abroad
•Reduce the President’s term from seven to five years
•Significantly strengthen Freedom of Information making it cheaper and easier for the public to receive information
•Fortify the Dail committee system to hold the Government to account
•Shift power from the Cabinet to the Dail to give TDs real influence in drafting legislation
•Radically overhaul the archaic Budget process

NEW POLITICS is the most ambitious political reform package since the 1930s which will place the Citizen firmly at the centre of government

Fine Gael wants to build a ‘New Republic’ where a smaller, more nimble government is held to account, trust is restored in our democratic institutions and the concerns of the Citizen, rather than the elites are placed firmly at the centre of government.

Fine Gael’s starting point is simple: political failure lies at the heart of Ireland’s economic collapse. The old politics does not work. Real, tangible change is needed and Fine Gael’s proposals will provide it.


It is built on four principles:
1.A Single Chamber Oireachtas.
2.A New Dáil: Fine Gael wants to expand the role and power of TDs so that they can truly hold the Government to account.

3.Open Government: Trust in government will be restored by opening it up to outside scrutiny and making party political funding more transparent.

4.Empowering the Citizen: We want to shift the balance of power between the State and the Citizen so that local communities and individuals have more power over their own lives.

Specifically, as outlined in ‘New Politics’, Fine Gael will:
1.Reduce the number of TDs by 20
2.Hold a referendum on the abolition of the Seanad
3.Provide a vote in Presidential elections for Irish citizens living abroad
4.Reduce the President’s term from seven years to five
5.Significantly strengthen Freedom of Information making it cheaper and easier for the public to receive information to which they are entitled.
6.Fortify the Dáil committee system to hold the Government to account
7.Shift power from the Cabinet to the Dáil and reform the legislative process to give TDs real influence over the drafting of legislation
8.We will radically overhaul our archaic Budget process.

Fine Gael wants to put the Citizen at the heart of decision making and give people real influence and real power.

Within its first hundred days a Fine Gael Government will establish a Citizens Assembly, along the lines of similar assemblies which have been used in Canada and in the Netherlands to consider political and electoral reform. It will have up to 100 members who will be chosen from the public to reflect the demographic make-up of Ireland and will play a crucial role in the development of the broad constitutional agenda.

The Assembly will also be asked to consider how the representation of women in politics might best be increased. Fine Gael believes it is crucial that there are more female TDs and local councillors and will adopt measures internally to encourage this development at all levels in the electoral process.

Of course, some of Fine Gael proposals will require major constitutional change and, within 12 months of assuming office, Fine Gael will hold a ‘super referendum’ on Constitution Day, at which the people will be asked to approve a single chamber Oireachtas and changes to other articles of the Constitution covering the institutions of the State.

This year, we also want to see two additional constitutional amendments to be put to a referendum on the same day of the Children’s Referendum. These would allow Judge’s salaries to be adjusted and would allow the effects of the Abbeylara decision to be reversed.

Ministers should also never again be allowed to avoid responsibility. Significant changes in the way senior public servants and departments work are badly needed and Fine Gael will create a new Senior Civil Service where key officials can be employed across the public sector, wherever the need is greatest, and not just in one department. Each senior civil servant will sign a contract with their individual line Minister outlining in detail their areas of responsibility. This will allow senior officials to be held individually accountable for their performance in these areas. We will also ensure that there is greater involvement of senior personnel from outside.

Fine Gael is convinced that public confidence in government can be restored but only if there is real tangible change in the political system. The New Politics is designed to tackle head-on the major weaknesses in our archaic system of government, so that the huge policy mistakes of the last few years will not be repeated.

We are not suggesting that political reform, by itself, is a panacea for all that ails our country. But we are convinced that political failure lies at the heart of Ireland’s economic failure. If we want to fix the economy, and return Ireland to growth and prosperity, we must also fix the political system.”
For full document click here (insert link to New Politics)

For details on all Fine Gael polices click here