Martin calls for political reforms


MULTI-SEAT constituencies in Ireland should be abolished and replaced by single-seat constituencies elected by proportional representation, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has said, calling for political reform to follow “a crisis of this magnitude”.

Speaking in London last night, Mr Martin said: “I think we do need political reform. The multi-seat system of PR does need to be reviewed. When you experience a crisis of this magnitude you do need to reflect on the political system, and, collectively – not just one party.”

Éamon de Valera tried to get a referendum passed in 1958 which would have abolished multi-seat constituencies and replaced it by a British-style “first past the post” system, but voters rejected it.

Mr Martin’s proposal is different in that it would retain PR. However, he said he had reservations about proposals made by some in recent months that TDs should be elected through a list system, with a mix of a single-seat PR.

Mr Martin also launched a strong attack on Labour, saying it has moved leftwards in a bid to ensure it was not outflanked by Sinn Féin, the Socialist Party and People Before Profit and Independent candidates.

During a briefing for British and Irish journalists, he was equally critical of Sinn Féin, saying Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh organised “a mob” to try and break into Government Buildings during the EU-IMF talks “when he could have walked into the Taoiseach’s office” on request.

“There is a certain intimidatory element now about some of Sinn Féin agenda. . . You are either up for democracy, or you are not,” said Mr Martin, speaking in the Irish Embassy.