Do we know what Local Government is?

There are elections due in May…

Politics these days is almost like a dirty word, it is associated with junkets, corruption, back-room deals, dishonesty, dynasties and generally something divorced from the people.

It is a sad reality that today the vast majority of citizens are effectively excluded from our democratic process, we have no say in deciding any question of national policy, let alone the policy of our Local Council.

So, with elections next May we need to ask the question, are they any use as our families and community face deepening all-sided crisis?

The answer to our question is in article 28A of Bunreacht na hÉireann, our Constitution, in it we decided that the role of Local Government was to provide “a forum for the democratic representation of local communities”, it is to promote “the interests” of our communities.

This Constitutional provision provides us with something of great relevance and practical use, it says that our communities should be represented – not any Political Party or ‘single-issue’ individuals/causes.

As we approach the elections we should consider this, are we best served by what are effectively private member clubs, Parties?

Can we select our own candidates and contract them to only vote and implement policy approved in our local electoral areas?  If we do this we can have proper representation and begin to be effective, we can also do the same when the next Dáil elections come about.

by Diarmaid Ó Cadhla@GraTire

This article first appeared in the Douglas Post, page 33, on 5th December 2013.