November 21st, 2011
Each T.D. is entitled to submit his or her own legislation for consideration by Dáil Éireann. Such bills are known as ‘Private Member‘ Bills. Below you can find my first such bill, a proposal to reform the office of President which is scheduled for debate on December 2nd, 2011.
The bill makes balanced proposals which I believe will make the office far more accessible and relevent to citizens. The main aims of the bill are to open up the restrictive nominations process by adding more democratic legitimacy, remove unnessesary qualifications to becoming a candidate, expand some of the narrow requirements placed on the Presidential oath, and to make some general provisions removing redundant elements of the present Article 12.
Many of the changes in this bill have been proposed several times in the past, not least in the All-Party Commission on the Constitution’s 1998 report – which recommened changes to sections which were even then considered outdated.
- Reduction of the term of office from seven years to five. (12.3°1)
- Reducing the minimum age qualification to 18 years from 35. (12.4°1)
- Reducing the number of Oireachtas members who may collectively make a nomination from twenty to ten. (12.4°2.i)
- Creating a new nomination process wherby an individual may be nominated on the initiative of 10,000 citizens entitled to vote at Presidential Elections. (12.4°)
- Amending the Oath of Office to allow a President-Elect omit religious references of he or she so chooses. (12.8°)
- Omitting the redundant reference to electing the President proportionately; explicitly stating that such election is by means of “single transferable vote”.(12.2°3)