New political party launched
It was standing room only at the launch of new political party Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI) in Dublin today as over 200 people supporters gathered in Buswell's hotel.
The party, with the aim of introducing participatory democracy, today began a “recruitment drive” and intends build a network across the State and run candidates in the 2014 local and European elections.
Direct Democracy Ireland has outlined three main aims; to allow citizens to petition for a referendum on any issue at local, county or national level by collecting a certain number of signatures, to introduce mechanism where politicians can be removed if they are not performing and it wants to create “realistic economic choices” based on public debate.
The organisation has been in existence for two years and has built up a network of several hundred supporters, with two offices in Dublin, in Kildare and a head office in Trim Co Meath and has held meetings “from Cork to Donegal”.
It only last month become an official party on the State’s register of political parties. However party founder Raymond Whitehead stressed that it was a new “political service” rather than party which wanted to “transform the political system from one of representative democracy to one of direct democracy”.
This is not a real democracy; it’s an excuse for a democracy, founder Raymond Whitehead said today. He spoke to those gathered about bringing introducing an idea contained in the 1928 free State constitution in which a petition of 75,000 citizens could bring about a referendum on any issue.
“We believe that politically empowering and engaging people will improve the psychological, physical, spiritual and emotional health of the nation, which, as a consequence, will improve the economic health of our nation” he said.
Another core member Ben Gilroy said that if there had been direct democracy the “bailout would never have happened” as it would work as a “protector on Government decisions”.
The party is not “left or right but about balance”, Mr Gilroy said. It has put out a open invitation to all people and groups around the country to join Direct Democracy Ireland.
Mr Whitehead ran as a first time independent candidate in the last year’s general election in Dublin South. He came to prominence in the 1980s when he owned a restaurant in Temple Bar and organised local residents and businesses to campaign against over-development of the district.
Ben Gilroy is also part of a People for Economic Justice, a group which has been involved in cases helping homeowners to fight repossessions.