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D'Hondt system may fix a badly fractured Dail

The solution for the Dail's fractured election is easy: make the entire membership responsible for government and spread State appointments right across, down to parties of say four or maybe less.

In other words, adopt the D'Hondt system wished on Northern Ireland in Easter 1998 with Dublin's approval.

It did not work for several years until, in 2007, the turnaround by the late DUP leader Ian Paisley took him and Martin McGuinness into joint leadership.

Take note: the First Minister at Stormont is a woman, a giant step in all of Ireland's politics. And Arlene Foster MLA (nee Kelly) from the borderland of Co Fermanagh, sits alongside Mr McGuinness, one of whose former comrades shot and nearly killed her RUC father.

This puts to shame the stiff-necks of both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, who cannot see their way to mending the breach of the Civil War of nearly a century ago.

Surely a larger band of brothers and sisters will hold the Dail at work until a relative time for the next bout at the ballot and, one would hope, a better future for both Irish parliaments.

PADDY McGARVEY

Director emeritus, Irish Parliament Trust

Belfast Telegraph

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