Having discussed the failings of our present system and other forms of democracy, we looked at a system of democracy that has existed in different parts of the world for the last 80 years or so and one that can be tailor made to suit Ireland and our people. That system can introduce very positive change to what we all know to be an outdated and failed way of governing our country. It’s called ‘Participatory Democracy’.
In October 2013 the Irish Democratic Party was founded to promote the principles of this very fair system of Democracy. Since then the membership of the Party has grown to over 1,000 signed up members in 24 of the 26 Counties (January 2018)!
NONE of the members of the IDP are former or failed politicians! Our members are ordinary people who have real life experience of just what it’s like to live in Ireland under the harshness that has been cruelly imposed on our people by the last three successive Governments. We do not need or want high profile political figures that have played their part in our country’s downfall! We are not and will not be a rescue boat for anyone’s failed political fortunes!
Most importantly we recognise and respect the fact that every person has an opinion and should be allowed to express that opinion without being silenced by the outdated Whip system! It’s long past the time when ‘group thinking’ and towing the party line as is practiced in Ireland’s Representative Democracy should be consigned to the history books!
The Executive Committee and founding members of the IDP are as follows:
Chairperson/PRO – Ken Smollen – 085 1432898
Secretary – Angela Briggs – 085 1913748
Treasurer – Deirdre Saunders – 086 2147219
What is ‘Participatory Democracy’?
With Representative Democracy the elected official is not compelled in any way to engage with the electorate or even discuss decisions before they’re made. Another negative aspect of this form of democracy is that elected officials cannot really be held accountable for the decisions they make!
‘Participatory Democracy’ changes all of that. With this system of governance the decision making process is returned to the electorate, i.e. the people who voted for the elected official. The local councillor or TD must consult with members of the public, ask them for their decision and vote accordingly. With ‘Participatory Democracy’ there is no need for the ‘Whip’ system which in itself gives total control over any decisions to party leadership as we have recently seen in the FG/Lab Government!
With ‘Participatory Democracy’ there is also a system of ‘Recall’, meaning that if the elected official does not abide by the wishes of the electorate, he/she can be recalled/sacked! This ensures accountability ALL of the time and not just at election time when as we have seen in the past politicians will make all kinds of promises simply to get elected.
It’s also vitally important that we acknowledge the fact that the expertise of financial and economic experts will be required in formulating our future policies. Unlike other parties our members will not play ‘bar stool’ politics nor will our party have policies that have not been fully discussed by the appropriate professionals and our members before being decided on!
For now our main focus will be on the introduction and implementation of ‘Participatory Democracy’ to Ireland and the huge benefits it will bring not only to us but to our future generations. In order to prove that we are a real and genuine alternative to the outdated system that we have at present we also have a number of guiding principles that are listed below –
Our ‘Strategy for Change’
We will call for the following:
1) The introduction and implementation of ‘Participatory Democracy’ into Irish politics where the elected official must consult with his/her electorate before decisions are made and vote in accordance with their wishes. This will allow full participation by the people in the legislative and decision making process and eliminates the undemocratic ‘Whip’ system! If the elected official does not abide by the wishes of the electorate, he/she can be recalled/sacked! This ensures accountability at ALL times and guards against false or misleading pre-election promises. ‘Participatory Democracy’ will also enable citizens to initiate a referendum with a predetermined number of signatures.
2) An immediate stop to all repossessions and evictions from family homes until a fair and sustainable solution is achieved for every homeowner and an immediate repeal of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2013 that enables banks to fast track repossession of family homes.
3) A full independent banking inquiry with sanctions imposed for fraudulent or reckless behaviour of banks and legal action taken against anyone found to have broken any laws.
4) A write off of the odious debt that has been imposed on the Irish people and a repeal of the promissory note put forward as collateral by the Government.
5) The rescinding and renegotiation of the contracts signed by previous Governments which grossly undervalued our natural resources to the detriment of the Irish economy!
6) Total reform of civil and public service with the emphasis on full accountability to the Irish people, with provision for ‘Recall’ for anyone paid from public funds.
7) Total reform of Local Government with more powers allocated to councillors and directly elected ‘Provincial Administrators’ to replace politically appointed City and County Managers.
8) Reform of Central Government where the Government is not only accountable to the Dail but also to the public through the system of ‘Recall’ whereby the Taoiseach, any Minister or TD is singularly responsible. This removes the protection afforded to the Government under collective responsibility.
9) An end to Government appointment of the Judiciary as this contravenes the doctrine of separation of powers.
10) An end to political appointment of all senior Gardai whose positions must not be seen to be compromised and to ensure public confidence.
11) A public discussion/debate leading to a definite decision regarding the use of hydrofluorosilicic acid in our water supply which is regarded by many as an unwanted and unnecessary toxin.
12) A commission be set up to determine the benefits or otherwise of alternative energy and to examine safer technologies with emphasis on their long term health implications.
13) The abolition of the ‘Property Tax’, the ‘Household Charge’ and the ‘Water charge’.
14) An open discussion on the question of our citizens abroad being allowed to vote in Irish elections – many of whom were forced to leave Ireland.
15) A referendum to be held on EU membership and the Euro pending the results of a full and open public debate on the pros and cons of our membership and a feasibility study.
Over a period of time other issues concerning many other things including rates, VAT and other taxes, the cost of doing business in Ireland and much more will be discussed amongst the members of our party with all suggestions for a better way forward openly welcome.