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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Fine Gael affiliated think tank the Collins Institute

Update: the page that was built at Collins Institute is no longer public. Somebody was building the site in public accidentaly.

The Collins Institute was announced at the Ocotober 2013 Fine Gael party conferene as a Fine Gael affiliated think tank. I started a thread on it on The Michael Collins Institute

Enda Kenny: 'Ireland needs an overhaul of social welfare' Irish Mirror Oct 11, 2013

The Fine Gael leader also confirmed he will set up a new group called the Collins Institute to come up with fresh ideas to help the country back to its best.

Government forecasts budget deficit of 7.3% Newstalk 12 October 2013
Enda Kenny also confirmed he will set up a new internal group called the Collins Institute to come up with fresh policies for the party.

Isn't that what political parties membership are for, isn't what party conferences are for, why do you need a seperate think thank?

I wondered at the time.

What was the last idea that a Fine Gael policy group came up with... Seanad abolition.

Nothing more about it until 2nd March 2014.
Little piece in the Mail on Sunday about how Fine Gael are going to launch a think tank called The Michael Collins Institute, 'no details until launch' FG spokeperson says, no reference that they announced this last year at the conference.

The Martens Centre formely
Centre for European Policy Studies
The Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies (previously the Centre for European Studies) was established in 2007 as the political foundation and official think tank of the European People’s Party (EPP). It embodies a pan-European mind-set based on centre-right, Christian Democrat, conservative and like-minded political values and research. It serves as a framework for national political foundations linked to member parties of the EPP, with 29 foundations currently members. The Martens Centre takes part in the preparation of EPP programmes and policy documents. It organises seminars and training on EU policies and on the process of European integration.
The Centre also contributes to formulating EU and national public policies. It produces research studies and books, policy briefs, and the twice-yearly European View journal. Its research activities are divided into six clusters: party structures and EU institutions, economic and social policies, EU foreign policy, environment and energy, values and religion, and new societal challenges. Through its papers, publication launches, conferences and online activities, the Martens Centre offers a platform for discussion among experts, politicians, policymakers and the European public. At the beginning of 2014, the Centre was renamed in honour of its late President and founder, Wilfried Martens, the EPP’s long-standing President and former Prime Minister of Belgium.

That pic taken at the Congress of the European People’s Party held in Dublin but the Collins Institute not yet listed Members of Marten Centre

John Bruton is on the Academic Council and chairman of the fundraising and events committee

I found a half built website in summer 2014 The Michael Collins Institute "Powerful citizens in a just republic".

About Us | Collins Institute
We are a policy think tank which has been tasked by Fine Gael with examining the long-term challenges facing Ireland.

The Collins Institute has been tasked with examining how a new Just Republic might be established in Ireland by 2022

The Collins Institute is a Fine Gael initiative. It is policy think tank which has been tasked with examining the long-term challenges facing Ireland and suggesting possible policy responses. In particular it will look at the way in which a truly Just Republic might be established in Ireland in the run-up to 2022, the centenary of both the founding of the Irish state and the death of Michael Collins. The Institute’s name recognises the crucial role which Collins played in the creation of the Irish state and the special position which he occupies in both the history and affections of many in the Fine Gael party.

Over the next 18-­-24 months the Collins Institute will issue a series of detailed working papers looking at how the six key principles listed above can best be reflected in public policy in a number of important areas. As a first very preliminary step we have analysed some of the key challenges that Ireland faces, viewed through the prism of each one of these principles.

Six Key Principals
Freedom, Equality and Solidarity
Sustainability, Accountability and Subsidiarity

the Institute focuses on
Just Republic
A Social Market
An Enabling State
Powerful Citizens
Strong Communities

The first report

Not much fanfare or notice for their first report The Just Republic 'Building A Citizen Focused Republic'. released on 30th of June 2014, no media coverage, no-one but me publically discussing it as far as I can see.

The work of the Institute is overseen by its Director, Dr Sean Faughnan, and a Board which is chaired by Marion Coy. A key goal of the Institute is to work closely with like-minded institutes and think tanks in other countries, particularly those which are associated with the European People’s Party. All papers published by the Institute are intended for discussion purposes only and do not represent Fine Gael policy.

Marion Coy Chair Mountbellew Agricultural College and former Director of the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Ceifin speaker Bio

Sean Faughnan a former investment banker who lives in a medival castle.
Banker who changed Enda's mind on Seanad Sunday Independent 08/09/2013 John Breenan.
A Little known investment banker turned medieval castle owner is today revealed as being the 'mastermind' behind the Government's plan to abolish the Seanad.

The guy who advised kenny to try to abolish the Seanad, I timelined his role here in Enda Kenny's Seanad flip flop based on a Vincent Brownes article, Cynical Seanad abolition stunt must not be rewarded - Political News | Irish & International Politics | The Irish Times - Wed, Jul 17, 2013

Seems like follow up to this Alan Dukes to head new FG policy commission which also included Sean Faughan which dealth with health policy and recommended an universal health insurance market. Sean Faughnan was a special advior to the Minister for Health James Reilly. Reilly’s advisors announced Sara Burke 2011.

The report lots of talk about the Enabling State which the Guardian tells me is

The enabling state is the phrase used to describe the process whereby responsibility for delivering public services traditionally provided by the state is passed to private or voluntary organisations (or 'arms length' government agencies).Underpinning this is the idea that smaller, local and specialist providers are more effective and efficient at delivering publicly-funded services than large centralised bureaucracies (such as the NHS).

Ireland needs, in our view, a more proactive and Enabling State. One that rejects both the old centralised model of universal service delivery, built around a one size fits all approach, and the more recent public management approach which seeks to turn citizens into mere consumers. Public services should be judged, instead, by the extent to which they help build the capabilities of its citizens. The goal should be to create a system which is focused on the idea of "social productivity" (more people reaching more of their potential) instead of the rather passive idea of “social security” (a basic safety net which, while absolutely essential, does very little to change people’s prospects). The Enabling State recognises that it has a duty to protect its most vulnerable citizens, who may require sustained assistance from government, and to help provide all citizens with the supports they need to take more control of their own lives. However, it also insists that citizens have an obligation, in turn, to do everything they can to become more independent and self-sufficient.

It seems to be PR for the privitisation and outsourcing and cuts and attacks on the social safety net dressed up as political philosophy.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Enda Kenny's Seanad flip flop timeline

in response to this article Cynical Seanad abolition stunt must not be rewarded - Political News | Irish & International Politics | The Irish Times - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 Vincent Browne offers a time table so I did a timeline of Enda kennys moves on Seanad with more links.

Enda Kenny's Seanad flip flop timeline spreadsheet.

18 June 2008

All-Party Group on Seanad Reform


Seanad Reform Options paper

March 2008

Alan Dukes to head new FG policy commission, includes Sean Faughnan

30 April 2009

Minutes of the Seanad Reform All-Party Group Meeting. 12.00 p.m.

"when seven months earlier the party had published a document advocating the reform of the Senate, not its abolition" VinB IT

April 2009? 29/04/2009
short response to seanad reform sub-committee yb all partys except FF.

On July 24th, 2009, Enda Kenny said at the MacGill summer school: “I see a new role for the Seanad entirely. The system of voting has got to be changed. Every graduate should be entitled to vote for the Seanad. I see real opportunities for connection with Europe. It should be the forum where MEPs can address the Seanad. It should be able to examine European legislation in a real scrutiny way. It should be a forum where delegations can come and make their case on national issues and the whole lot of it should be on a parliamentary (television) channel.”
Cynical Seanad abolition stunt must not be rewarded - Political News | Irish & International Politics | The Irish Times - Wed, Jul 17, 2013

August 2009th Fianna Fail seanad reform document?

FF under fire for failing to act on Seanad reform - Independent.ie 16/09/2013

they did submit one eventually, havn't found it yet.

Enda Kenny's mind is changed
Politics » Thirty Years Waiting for Seanad Reform

Cynical Seanad abolition stunt must not be rewarded - Political News | Irish & International Politics | The Irish Times - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 Vincent Browne.
In October 17th, 2009, at what is called the Fine Gael presidential dinner, Enda Kenny has this to say: “I believe the Seanad should be abolished and the next Fine Gael government will put this to the people. I have come to the conclusion that a second house of the Oireachtas can no longer be justified”.

Banker who changed Enda's mind on Seanad - Independent.ie John Drennan.
A second source said that Mr Faughnan again told a Party Manifesto Group meeting in February 2010 that abolishing the Seanad would be "popular with the voters".

March 2010 New Politics

Fine Gael’s New Politics reform proposals | The Irish Politics Forum
New Politics (pdf)

7th november 2010

Politics reform proposals Reinventing Government


FG election manifesto in 2011

Banker who changed Enda's mind on Seanad - Independent.ie John Drennan, talks of internal policy meetings and the seanad abolition being popular with focus groups.

Fine Gael's New Politics the basis for the Seanad abolishment propsal?

Kenny urged to reveal 'secret report' behind Seanad U-turn Independent - 19/08/2013

Elaine Byrne2. Enda Kenny adopted the report. Regardless if you agree/disagree with the policy, it's the pejorative of a party leader to change his mind

Elaine Byrne3. The 'secret' report is the Fine Gael New Politics document 'published' in 2010 (not so secret then)

Fine Gael: There’s no ‘secret report’ which convinced Taoiseach to abolish Seanad thejournal.ie - Aug2013.

Noel Whelan Really? 2 1/2 double spaced pages published 4+ months later was FG Seanad Flip Report

I counted last night Fine Gael's reasoning for Seanad aboltion... 25 lines Fine Gael:New Politics

Labour's was 21 + 250 lines background New Government better Governmen

If its Fine Gael's idea how is it that Labour has more reasoning, there must be more documentation but it was internal FG stuff and their focus group results, which they won't show.

It seems the Seanad Reform All-Party Group Met on the 30 April 2009, this was that their last ever meetings, Gormely was still promising reform but 3 months later during the summer Enda said lets abolish it.

Friday 4 October 2013. The referendum happens and is lost by the government the Seand is not abolished.

All Party Seanad Reform group documents
Referendum Commission Seanad and Court of Appeal Referenda Website