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Convention report recommends longer polling hours and larger constituencies

More than half of delegates at the constitutional convention think the number of members in the Dáil should be left unchanged.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE CONVENTION ON the Constitution has today handed the report from its fourth meeting on electoral reform over to the Houses of Oireachtas.

Members of the convention voted after four days of discussions, with the first question asking if Ireland’s current proportional representation – single transferable vote system should be changed.

Delegates were also asked if we should adopt a new mixed-member proportional representation system, as used in countries like Germany and New Zealand.

Though 54 per cent of delegates voted in favour of changing our system, 74 per cent did not want to replace it with the new system proposed.

A significant proportion of delegates – 86 per cent – were in favour of having larger constituencies with the smallest being five-seaters and 67 per cent also voted to change the alphabetical order on the ballot paper. Voters also want longer polling hours or days with 89 per cent of delegates voting in favour of it.

On the issue of changing the number of members of the Dáil, the convention voted 37 per cent in favour and 59 per cent against. 55 per cent of convention delegates also believe that the Dáil should be allowed to appoint people who are not members of the Oireachtas as ministers.

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The government has committed to responding to the report within four months of it being published and it is to be debated in the Oireachtas.

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