Website proposed as tool of democracy

 

SOUTH DUBLIN’s electorate is to be offered an opportunity to “use technology to make government more efficient” by a candidate who intends to run in the constituency’s byelection for a Dáil seat.

Ross O’Mullane (30) from Rathfarnham is proposing a system of political representation where individuals use an internet-based forum to debate the issues they consider important in their lives.

Mr O’Mullane, running as an Independent, yesterday launched his website, www.unitedminds.ie, through which he hopes to make politics more “productive, legitimate and creative” by encouraging greater public participation in the democratic process.

The website hosts a forum he hopes will provide south Dublin citizens with a voice which will allow them “rather than self-serving politicians” to make the decisions.

Mr O’Mullane said technology had made people’s business and social lives more efficient, but yet it remained pretty much absent from the political domain.

“When elected, I will strictly follow the opinion of the users of this website. This will create an almost direct democracy with a deflated middle man where you will have a much louder voice on key issues,” he said. “This new system will make politics more transparent, accountable and creative – things we need with the massive challenges facing our neighbourhoods, our nation and our planet.”

He said technology had begun to play an increasingly prominent role in democratic decision-making in Asia, Brazil, Australia and the US in recent years.

On his website, Mr O’Mullane outlines areas of interest such as economy, transport, justice and environment. The seat he is competing for became available in July of last year following the death of the former Fianna Fáil minister Séamus Brennan.

Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore has called on Taoiseach Brian Cowen to arrange a byelection to fill the vacancy in the five-seat constituency early this year.

Mr O’Mullane has a degree in information and communication technology and works with bookmaker Paddy Power – which is not yet offering odds on his election.