Yesterday, I had a question from Vanessa Linke about the political system in Ireland. I'm certainly no expert on politics, so my attempt at answering her question probably leaves a lot of room for improvement. If you know more, please add your comments below.

Hi Liam – I thought of a topic that would be of use for us/perhaps other members. We thought we sent in our voter application forms about a month ago, but when we just checked the register ”for fun” at http://www.checktheregister.ie/, we just found out we are NOT registered (or perhaps incorrectly), and I now have to make a trip down to Dublin City Council tomorrow to meet the deadline.
Assuming we can get ourselves registered to vote, do you have any ideas where to find out more about the Irish political system, the electoral process & the different parties? Admittedly, we do not know much about that aspect of our new home, but aren’t the type to ”just pick one” and would really like to know how to educate ourselves without being brainwashed.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
~Vanessa

Thanks Vanessa (@nessylink) for the question.

Great question, Vanessa! Thank you.

I’m not sure if there is a delay in updating the information on checktheregister.ie, but I do remember anxiously checking and re-checking it a few times last year, before the marriage equality vote. My details were included on there eventually, but I don’t recall how long it took.
I hope the trip to the city council office turns out fruitful.

As regards the Irish political system, I found very good (hopefully current) information on Ireland-information.com.
The article covers the constitution of Ireland, the government setup, the electoral system, etc.

For a list of political parties in Ireland, refer to this Wikipedia page. From there you can find their websites, local offices, political stance etc

You may also want to check out the Irish Statute Book online at http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/. You can search it by keyword, phrase, Act, year etc.

As for issues to be voted on, they are always hotly debated on TV. Especially the more divisive ones. RTE shows such as Prime Time and Claire Byrne will host political debates when the time comes. Being a state broadcaster the hosts are required to be impartial, but of course the opinions of the guests are very much slanted one way or the other. You’ll also find political shows on Irish radio. The Irish Radioplayer mobile app is quite handy to have on your phone.

I do recall receiving voting material prior to the marriage equality vote last year. Not just from canvassers looking to sway your vote, but official information, with impartial advice on what to expect if the act passed or not. I think this kind of material is sent out to every home, at least for major elections such as a constitutional change, but I don’t know exactly where it comes from.
I hope this helps.
Liam

Government buildings image credit: Flickr/psyberartist

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