Fiach Mac Conghail – Tadhg an dá thaobh?

Sen. Mac Conghail chairs the 'We The Citizens' group

In an article in today’s Irish Times Fiach Mac Conghail outlines a number of political reforms that he supports, in a hands-off sort of way.

The ideas are put out in the guise that this is what the We The Citizens group and their own commissioned MRBI pole discovered – ideas that the government are advancing anyway.

Mac Conghail offers advice to make the governments life “a lot easier– why does he want to do that? are they doing such a good job for the people?  Maybe he believes that FG/Lab is really concerned with having democratic reform in favour of the citizens?

It appears to us that Mac Conghail, front man for We The Citizens and unelected FG appointee to the Seanad is performing a very conservative political role.

This is noteworthy because he has presented himself as someone who is in favour of enhancing the role of citizens in our society – he leads “We The Citizens“, yet he is repeating the agenda of the infamous ‘European Project’.

Maybe Mr. Mac Conghail’s agenda is not what it seems, politically?

The key elements outlined in the article are:

  1. The right of citizens to petition the Dáil to initiate legislation.
    This has proven to be a dead end down which to divert citizens who are looking to redress real problems they face, that is how it has worked in practice in the EU.  Why should anyone in a democracy have to petition their public representatives, we should be instructing them!
  2. Reduced number of TD’s.
    Less TD’s would make it more difficult for citizens to compete in elections against the government funded political parties, who are also backed by vested interests.
  3. Bringing non-elected persons into Government.
    T
    here is nothing wrong with a democratic government hiring skilled civil servants or others to assist with different tasks, however, in a democracy they can have no role in government, consultative or otherwise.
  4. Changes to electoral system, though not specified.
    This is most likely a reference to LIST system voting, supposedly designed to get rid of “parish pump politics”.  This would have the effect of disconnecting elected representative from the people, therefore who are they accountable to?  It also makes it more difficult for a citizen to compete in such a constituency, how can one canvas all of Ireland?  Only a candidate with lots of funding could compete for such an electoral seat!

The above elements are almost exactly what FG published in their election manifesto, it is also what was promoted by the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the EU Parliament several years ago, as part of the European Project.  Coincidence?

Other reforms mentioned by Mac Conghial include, compulsory voting, limited terms in office, quotas for female candidates, linking quota compliance to party funding by the Oireachtas etc.

The article concludes, advising that if the government goes ahead with its proposed citizens assembly that it could “ease the passage” of difficult legislation.

Is there an unannounced agenda?

Why is Mac Conghial supporting these measures and claiming to be a democrat? what is the real role of We The Citizens?

Perhaps this is why the US based Atlantic Philanthropies gave him and the senior academics with him, including ‘political scientists’, €630k to conduct their experiment (it’s ongoing) in democracy?

There are, and has been, literarily thousands of groups in every part of the country active in defending and furthering the rights of citizens – to our knowledge none of them were consulted regarding the We The Citizens initiative and all could have used even a fraction of those funds.

Obsession with Reforms!

For us, the agenda of FG and the European Project is clear, it is to further the interests of the power brokers in Europe, this seems to be Senator Mac Conghail’s agenda too.

We think discussing the many reforms that might patch up the system can itself become a distraction from the real issue – the problem is that citizens have no effective say at all in how our country is being run.  None of the reforms proposed will change this in any way, government talk of reforms in a smoke screen.

The end result of these ‘reforms‘, as outlined, is to further entrench the role of political parties, it is to place even more barriers in front of citizens who wish to exercise their sovereign rights.

The empowerment of citizens

There is only one real reform needed, from which all other changes we need will become possible, that is that the people must be empowered in practice.

One is either in support of the empowerment of citizens, fully and without restriction, or one believes that we need to be ruled over by someone.

Sovereignty derives from, and stays with, the citizens.  It is our right to direct all state policy – but this right has been usurped by political parties and the vested interests that back them.

The Peoples Convention has taken up this issue of how the citizens can empower themselves and are currently in discussion to re-state the ideas first launched last November/December.  We would like to encourage all who hold democracy dear to engage in this discussion and to advance the real agenda of the people – not another slight-of-hand by vested interests.

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Manus Magee
Guest
We the Citizens is fronted by Mr. Mac Conghail a Fine Gael appointed Senator! We the Citizens held so-called “citizens’ assembly” where the agenda was preset by a conservative academic elite think-tank. They recently issued a glossy report to government from this We the Citizens so-called “citizens’ assembly” which recommends property and water taxes! A report which recommends that a citizens’ assembly be absorbed into the coalition’s proposed Constitution Review Convention. A new politics? I don’t think so. Elite well funded groups such as the university academic group who set up We the Citizens are part of the problem and… Read more »
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