Independents and micro-parties

Voters get the representatives they choose

Sir, – Des Gunning may be right to link the “chronic national failure to plan to plan” to the presence of so many Independent members in Dáil Éireann (Letters, March 29th).

However, he is mistaken when he says the threshold for election to Dáil Éireann “is effectively two-thirds of 1 per cent”.

The members of Dáil Éireann are elected from separate constituencies, each returning three, four or five TDs.

The effective thresholds for election in these constituencies are, respectively, 25 per cent, 20 per cent and 16 per cent.


The reason the Independents are in Dáil Éireann is simply that the local voters voted for them in sufficient numbers to exceed these substantial thresholds.

Norway does not use PR-STV (or STV-PR) to elect its parliament; it uses a semi-open party list system of PR with provision for a small number of “levelling up” seats. The threshold of 4 per cent applies only to the allocation of these “levelling up” seats.

STV-PR gives the voters the representatives they choose. If some of the voters don’t like the representatives the voters have chosen, they should perhaps look at the reasons those voters turned away from the parties’ candidates and chose an Independent instead. – Yours, etc,