I am standing for election to the Dáil in the constituency of Cork North-Central. I am affiliated to no party, but, if elected, will make common cause with others elected on similar agendas.
My own reform agenda prioritises removing the elements of the present system which ensure that TDs neglect their national duties in favour of the more trivial aspects of their role. For example, I propose the removal of all, or nearly all, taxpayer support for "constituency work" by Ministers, TDs and Senators.
The last is especially urgent, because there is absolutely no justification for Senators doing any work of that kind. I would not favour abolition of the Senate, but would cut its costs by at least 50%. Senators are grossly over-paid.
TDs are probably also over-paid. They are certainly over-paid for the value they deliver, or are permitted by the system to deliver, to us citizens. I do not share the common view that all, or even most, TDs are corrupt or otherwise useless, but we are not getting a "good deal".
The support for TDs' constituency work is much less outrageous than for Senators (who should get NONE) or for Ministers who are collectively permitted hundreds of civil servants dedicated to such work.
The other candidates in Cork North Central are good people as far as I can see so far, but, with one exception, are not seeking a mandate that will change the current situation much. There are four seats, and I can only fill one, so, if voters choose well, the constituency is going to be represented by at least three other good people, whose priorities will receive attention as well as mine.
As well as re-focussing our national politicians on truly national issues, my main priority will be to push "burden-sharing" at both national and EU-level. Briefly, this means that lenders must take more pain than they have so far. The share of pain placed on borrowers and taxpayers is disproportionate, unjust and ultimately unsustainable.
Urgent reform of bankruptcy law will form part of that agenda.
I also favour "opening-up" our electoral system through measures such as a Citizens Initiative, permitting voters to "write-in" options to the ballot-paper, and recall procedures for TDs.
Against the background of the failure of our justice system to adequately respond to recent wrong-doing, I will be promoting a revision of prosecution arrangements, including a revived private prosecution option.
Note: this statement will be edited occasionally. It was last edited on February 5 2011 at 8.10 a.m. Previous versions may be inspected here