My Public Representatives

While I was away last week John Handelaar announced his new project, It’s a site dedicated to reporting all the goings on in the Irish Parliament, from the horses mouth so to speak. It makes available to the general public everything that TDs (our members of parliament) say in session. This information is available on the official Government websites but it’s not easy to find.

I live in Blarney, in Cork North Central. I checked the list of TDs and found those that represent me, my family, my neighbours:

Interesting stats on each of their pages, and I really like the “most recent appearances”. I wonder if TDs will watch more closely what they say come the general election to avoid giving ammunition to their competitors or to avoid “putting their foot in it” in front of a suddenly more well informed electorate.


So what is the Seanad for anyway?

The Government of Ireland is split into two houses. The first House is the Dail where politicians make important and not so important decisions and talk endlessly on matters of State. The second House is the Seanad. This is a little known and secretive group of people who are elected in a complicated election by a small subset of the Irish public.

Who can vote for the Seanad? If you went to University you can, so my wife Jacinta can. She filled in her ballot sheet this morning and while she was wondering who to give her No. 1 vote to I read the newspaper and came across Kathy Foley’s article in the Sunday Times, So what is the Seand for? It’s a very entertaining and cutting look at the Seanad and if you’ve wondered about them you should go read it in full. Here’s a taster for you on this Saturday afternoon:

What happens in the Seanad?
Very little. Senators sit about on comfy leather seats and engage in witty badinage. Unlike the upper houses of parliament in other countries, our senate cannot veto bills from the lower house. It can merely delay them a little. If the Dail passed a bill forcing all citizens to wear yellow hats and blue shoes, the Seanad could object in the strongest possible terms and put the whole plan off for a few weeks. That would give us just enough time to dye our hats and spray paint our shoes.
Sometimes our senators go to America, where they are celebrated everywhere they go. This is because Americans confuse their sort of senators, who are very influential, with our sort, who aren’t.

So there you have it folks. Don’t feel too bad if you can’t vote, but do feel bad if you can’t get a nomination to stand for a €60,000 a year, 2 day a week job.


langerland – The Dail Reshuffled

Laugh? I almost sh*t myself! This is what the Irish Government looks like after the Cabinet reshuffle last month.
So, who wants to live in Ireland then?
(thanks Owen for the link!)