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Political 'system' putting off youth

The Irish Times

30 July 2011 - Original Source

RTE Radio News at One interview (July 29)
'Almost 50% of young people unhappy with Ireland'

By Deaglán de Bréadún

THE LACK of engagement in Irish politics by young people reflects the conservative nature of the system, the MacGill Summer School was told yesterday.

Speaking on the theme, Is Ireland a country for young men and women?, communications specialist Andrea Pappin said: “Irish politics is about making the least amount of change you can get away with.”

She recalled how, in 1997, both Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair were elected as heads of government.

“In the UK, there was the devolution of powers to the Scottish parliament, Welsh assembly and Stormont, the creation of a directly elected mayor of London, the removal of most hereditary peers from the House of Lords, the introduction of PR for European elections and a referendum on the voting system for Westminster elections.”

By contrast, in Ireland since 1997, she said that “while we had a number of referendums, not one of them had to do with planned constitutional reforms to improve or modernise our country”.

There was a need for a parliament that was more than “just an electoral college for the cabinet” and that would allow TDs to be more than constituency administrators or champions of their locality.

Economist Ronan Lyons said “Charlton’s children”, the generation born when Jack Charlton’s tenure as Irish soccer manager was at its he