Cian O'Callaghan TD

This Bill is a missed opportunity for real and substantial political reform

The Electoral Reform Bill, which is being debated in the Dáil today, fails to live up to its name, according to Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan.

“The pace of political reform in this country is incredibly slow. Fianna Fáil and the Green Party first promised an independent Electoral Commission in their 2007 Programme for Government. That was 15 years ago. While it is welcome that it will be finally established, it should not have taken take a decade and a half to do so.

“The new Electoral Commission must be tasked with increasing voter participation through voter education, outreach, accessible voter registration and other proactive measures. Unfortunately, nothing in this bill indicates that this will happen. In fact, the crucial issue of voter education barely gets a mention.

“This Bill is a missed opportunity for real and substantial political reform. The first Citizens Assembly in 2013 called for the voting age to be reduced to 16, for all constituencies to be 5 seats or more, for polling hours and days to be extended, and other new measures to increase electoral turnout. None of these measures are included in this Bill. In fact, this Bill copper fastens the status quo in many respects.”

5 April, 2022


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