Is Ireland the least democratic country in the Western world?

Virtually all power is centred in the Dail.

If you look at the USA there are three levers of power, the President, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

All have more or less equal powers. All can create laws and all can veto laws created by one of the other two levers of power.


In Ireland the President is only a figurehead and has no power. He or she is there only for handshaking purposes.

We all know how little power the Seanad has – and the Government tried to abolish it before being stopped by the people.

Then there is the local authorities, the Councils.

No Power

In the UK the local people elect the councillors and the council raise money locally. They hire those who work for the council and they pay them.

Here there is a County Manager who is appointed by the Government and who hires the council staff. The council don’t raise money themselves but it is given to them by the Government.

As they say he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Even the judiciary are political appointments.

Not Too Small

It has been said, especially when they were trying to kill off the Seanad, that Ireland is too small a country to have so many levers of power.

However, Luxembourg has more democratic institutions than we have here in Ireland.

Even the Isle of Man has more.

Virtually all power is invested in the Dail.

This means that when a crisis comes, like when the country almost went broke and had to go in hoc to the troika, there was no check nor balance that the Government had to get to buy into what they were recommending – or reject it.

If the Government happens to be either useless or corrupt there is no one to stop them.