I’ve become a bit of a fan of Irish Times columnist Elaine Byrne who writes on political decision making in Ireland. She and colleagues from Trinity College organised the recent Political Reform Conference which asked the question ‘Are our Institutions Fit for Purpose? Political Reform in the Republic of Ireland’.
This new Political Reform organisation is a very welcome development. As a feminist – power and who has access to power has always fascinated me.
Indeed one of the main reasons I joined the Green Party in 1989 was their policy on strengthening local democracy and making our decision making structures more transparent. Twenty years on, and after five years serving as a City Councillor my conviction that we must constantly work to ensure that our decision making structures are completely transparent, accountable and representative is as strong as ever.
Twenty years on we still see very low levels of women in politics, and are no further ahead in strengthening local government.
Other areas of concern are raised by the Standards in Public Office Commission about where we need to improve how we monitor and police our decision makers.