Convention takes the Constitution in one hand and direct democracy in the other
As well as the agenda, the light mingling of media and citizens was useful, according to O’Leary. “They found you an extraordinary breed and not as bad as people make you out to be,” he said cheerfully.
Publication of names
By close of business there were still a few hold-outs on the anonymity issue. But by yesterday afternoon he was able to say the list of names and general locations would be on the constitution.iewebsite today.
It was a good day’s work overall. The requisite degree of ceremonial was provided in a beautiful place weighted with historical significance and a magnificent Christmas tree in the courtyard. The real work starts in January, when the 66 unpaid citizens will be required to give up a weekend every month for eight months.
The weekends, from 9am on Saturday to teatime on Sunday, will entail two overnights for most. The hospitality will not be lavish since, as O’Leary jokes, they will be running the whole enterprise on “about a fiver”.
Maybe they could invite Tom Arnold (American actor, once married to Roseanne Barr) as a guest speaker. O’Leary directed tweeters to him instead of chairman @TomArnoldCEO. Easy mistake. The actor must be wondering what he has done to deserve this.
The identity issue ‘You’re not just representing yourself but everyone in the country’
Gerry Farrell (54), a shift manager with Coca-Cola in Drogheda before it closed and left him unemployed, revealed the reasoning behind the fear of revealing identities of the members of the convention.
When he agreed to participate, he said, it never occurred to him the media would be involved.
“Maybe I had a narrower vision, some idea that it would be enclosed – and, unlike a lot of these people, I’m someone who was used to working in forums with people from many countries . . . It was only last week that I understood the press were concerned about knowing the names of people.”
Which is when he and many others began to worry about media intrusion and lobbyists camping in their front gardens.
“I’m very interested in politics though I have no party-political affiliations, but I did wonder about things like – would journalists be digging into your background and asking why was this person selected?”
The fear factor is real and perhaps not sufficiently recognised. Farrell adds:
“I honestly don’t see why revealing my identity could be in any way good for me.”
In the end he gave his name to The Irish Times because having talked to Tom Arnold and listened to the speeches, he had come to understand the “true weight and significance of this . . . and the fact that you’re not just representing yourself here but everyone in the country”.