Back to the Future day

14-09-23 John Screen Grab

I bring to the attention of Members that yesterday was Back to the Future day. It was the day depicted in the famous 1985 movie starring Michael J. Fox, following the intervention of Christopher Lloyd and a DeLorean encapsulated time machine. If Marty McFly had been Dr. Marty McFly and had been transported from the … Continue reading

Seanad Reform

[Speaking in the Seanad during Statements on the Report of Working Group on Seanad Reform 2015] I welcome my two esteemed colleagues and thank them for the great work they have done in a spirit of public service. Any departures I might have from the consensus that may have existed within its group about its … Continue reading

Report of Working Group on Seanad Reform

Speaking in the Seanad during ‘Statements on the Report of the Working Group on Seanad Reform 2015’ I welcome the report and the great effort our distinguished colleagues have made in this regard. As pointed out, the key problem in our democracy, the fruits of which we have seen recently, is that we have too … Continue reading

Government’s Dismal Progress in Political Reform – We Need to Move Away from sheepdog-like behaviour

[Speaking in the Seanad during Committee Stage of Seanad Bill 2013] I am stunned at the effrontery of the Government side in trying to be so utterly obstructionist about every aspect of this Bill. Those Members were elected on the promise of political reform but have split themselves asunder on the issue of abolishing the … Continue reading

Political Reform

[Speaking during Order of Business in the Seanad] It is timely that we would ask the relevant Minister, who, in truth, would probably be the Taoiseach, to come to the House at some stage for a broad-ranging debate on political reform. At the time of the Seanad referendum last year substantial and welcome attention was … Continue reading

The failures of An Taoiseach

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business, calling on the Taoiseach to come to the Seanad to discuss the long-overdue political reform of the Seanad, in light of the McNulty affair.] For people of my generation – those who thankfully grew up at a physical distance of 100 miles from but still very much … Continue reading

McNulty Appointment and the need for Seanad Reform

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] I pay tribute to two extra-parliamentary political figures who have done the right thing in the past two days. Mr. Dale McDermott from Young Fine Gael correctly pointed to the incongruence between the Fine Gael Party’s pre-election commitment to political reform which was partially responsible for the … Continue reading

Legislation to Appoint New Clerk of the Dail

14-05 John Speaking 2

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Electoral (Amendment) (No. 4) Bill] I am not really a politician. What I do here comprises approximately 45% of my life. I still think of my day job as the big job. However, I revere democracy and the process of democracy. One does not have to … Continue reading

Seanad Reform

[Speaking in the Seanad on Independent Senator Sean Barrett’s Bill – Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Amendment) Bill 2014] I have great pleasure in supporting and seconding Senator Barrett’s Bill. I believe Senator Barrett, more than any of us, represents the epitome of the intention of the Seanad – that is, to bring expertise unencumbered by … Continue reading

Seanad Reform

My Vision

[Speaking in the Seanad on the Heads of the General Scheme of the Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Amendment) Bill ] The question before the Government of our Republic with respect to this Bill is a very simple one: does it believe in democracy or does it not? A second question is whether all citizens of … Continue reading