98FM Interview Ben Gilroy and Ray Whitehead

98FM who interviewed Ben GilroyFollowing the launch of Direct Democracy Ireland in Buswell’s Hotel on the 14th of November, 98FM got in touch. They were hoping to get Ray Whitehead and Ben Gilroy’s opinion on the demonstrations that went ahead around Europe in protest of the austerity measures being put in place, in the wake of the banking crisis.

The situation is many countries, particularly in Spain, was very serious. Sometimes descending into violence, the protests could be felt in neighbouring Portugal. In comparison to this, the demonstration in Ireland, attracted just 20 protesters.

The Interview With 98FM

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During the interview, Ray Whitehead gave an impassioned speech as to why he opted to found Direct Democracy Ireland. He discussed his time living in Switzerland, the only country in the world fully practising Direct Democracy. He pointed out the famous sense of ownership the people in Switzerland have over their towns, cities, and indeed country. In contrast, the people here in Ireland feel entirely disenfranchised  and entirely disconnected from this, our country. The interview at 98FM could only agree, and asked why the Irish people do not stand up and say “No More!”.

Ben Gilroy thinks that time is fast approaching. He himself became famous from standing in front of Sheriffs, and stated “No More!“. He then goes on to compare the current system in Ireland, quickly mentioning layer after layer of corruption. He points out that in a system of Direct Democracy, the bondholder payments would never be allowed to happen.

The time for complaining is gone. We know what happened, why know who did it. The Greeks recently began wearing T-Shirts in their protests stating “we are not the Irish”. While painful, can one really claim that it is undeserved? It is time take back our country.

Source: 98FM. Listen to more of their interviews here.

Direct Democracy Ireland

Direct Democracy Ireland, mentioned at the Talk in WicklowWe spend a lot of our time here at People for Economic Justice, putting out the fires that have sprung up all over the country as a result of disastrous economic decisions made since 2008. Those fires of course arise in the form of Sheriffs and Receivers. One area that is equally important to keeping people in their homes however, is the basic question: how on earth was this situation allowed to occur? How on earth was our country allowed to go from a period of economic boom, to economic bust, literally overnight? Well let’s take a proper look at that night.

On that fateful night in 2008, the banks for all intents and purposes, took a very ill man, Brian Lenihan into a room, and seemingly persuaded him to validate their breaking of serious banking liquidity laws, by signing over the banks private debt into ‘Sovereign debt’. At what point did the Irish people allow any one man, even the Minister for Finance, to have the awe-inspiring power of loading €64,000,000,000 in debt onto our backs, in the middle of the night, by the simple stroke of a pen?

The answer may be quite simple. In Bunreacht na hEireann (The Irish Constitution), our founding fathers left us a very powerful right. This right was and is referred to as Direct Democracy. In simple terms, Direct Democracy is the right of ANY citizen, to gather a certain number of signatures from fellow citizens (in the case of Ireland’s Direct Democracy, this was 75,000 signatures), with which they may call a Referendum on any topic. In real terms, had our right to Direct Democracy still been in effect, 75,000 signatures would have been gathered the same afternoon as the bank bailout was announced, in order to stop it, and ‘The People’ could have decided whether a private corporation was worth the economic destruction of the entire State.

This of course begs the question, if we had Direct Democracy in the first place, where did it go? Short answer:-

This vital function was removed by the Government. Upon entering power in the newly formed Irish Free State, Direct Democracy was immediately seen as a threat to the political class, and they used a loop-hole in the new Constitution to remove it.

This loop-hole, Article 50, was a right the Constitution granted to the sitting government, to ‘amend’ certain aspects of the Constitution. On removing or changing anything in the Constitution, the Government was obliged, by that same Constitution, to present this change for ratification to the people within a period of 2 years. The Government extended this period to 8 years and at the end of that period they extended the period by another 8 years, effectively denying the people of Ireland their right to hold a referendum on what they had done.

This was done under protest as there were 97,000 signatures gathered and presented to the Government against what the Government had done. These signatures were completely ignored. The excuse was ‘We are not denying you your right to hold a referendum on what we have taken out of the constitution, but rather we are putting it off for a while, to a later date’. This date never came.

In 1937, a new Constitution was drafted. This was the second Constitution. The Government put into our Constitution that they “retain the right of Referendum” along with any other changes that had been made in the interim. As it had at this point been 16 years, no one seemed to realise that the Government never had the right of Referendum to retain in the first place and it was never raised as an issue when the second Constitution was drafted. YOU, the Irish Citizen, were the owner of this right denied by the first Irish Free State Government (which incidentally, was a Fine Gael Government).

Moving Forward: Direct Democracy Ireland

Moving forward over 70 years, Raymond Whitehead, a one-time resident of Switzerland, the only country in the world where in Direct Democracy is fully practised, came across the revelation that we the Irish once had this right as well. He immediately set about fighting to bring it back, and formed the group (at the time) Direct Democracy Ireland. He rapidly gathered the 300 members required in forming a Political Party, and as of the 14th of November 2012, he has succeeded. On this date, Direct Democracy Ireland will officially launch in Buswell’s Hotel in Dublin, at 2pm, with Ben Gilroy as its party leader. All are welcome.

The beauty of Direct Democracy lies in one simple truth: Corruption and Party Politics are effectively impossible, under the imposing glare of Direct Democracy. No political party can steer our country towards their agenda, as all important decisions would ultimately land at the doorstep of the Irish voter. This is why you can trust Direct Democracy Ireland. We have one goal: Direct Democracy. If you want to know our “policies” on any other given issue, then you need only take a vote.

At this point it is my personal hope that you are reading this, wondering how you can get involved, and bring back the awesome power of Direct Democracy to the Irish People. The most effective way to do this is simple: Join the Party. Does joining the Party mean that in 2016 you are suddenly obliged to run for government? No it most certainly does not. Joining the Party allows us to build a critical mass of votes to get people who do wish to run, into Government. Upon entering Government, Direct Democracy Ireland will focus on two key tasks. Objective one is restoring Articles 47 and 48 to the Constitution (one article covered the right of Direct Democracy, the other covered the right of Recall, which is the power to remove any TD who is not living up to his election mandate, and replace him with someone willing to take on that mandate). The second objective is to ensure that no loop-hole in the law can EVER allow these rights to be removed from us again.

Join today. Give yourself back your personal power. This country and its assets belong to we the people, not the politicians.

- Ben Gilroy

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Ben Gilroy Talk In Wicklow

Today we take a look at a talk held by Ben Gilroy, the rest of People For Economic Justice, Ray Whitehead, and Direct Democracy Ireland. The talk in Wicklow was split into three main speakers, Ben Gilroy, Ray Whitehead and Clare Leonard. We will discuss the topics covered in each video in more detail, after each video.

Part One of the Talk in Wicklow

In part one of the Talk In Wicklow, Ben jumps straight into the corruption of the banking sector in Ireland, as well as the political spectrum itself. He covers the claims of the Irish government that they did not know who the bank bondholders were, which People For Economic Justice famously proved wrong on Tonight With Vincent Browne. Direct Democracy Ireland, mentioned at the Talk in WicklowBen also discusses a very important topic called Direct Democracy. Direct Democracy is a relatively simple political process, that was a part of the original 1922 Bunreacht Na hEireann, and was removed in the revised 1937 constitution. In this system, any citizen can bring about a referendum on any given topic, provided they can gather a predetermined amount of signatures in support of the issue’s being raised to a referendum. In the original wording of the constitution that number was 75,000. If this system had been in place at 2008, and a bailout of unguaranteed bondholders had been announced, how long would it have taken to gather that number of signatures  and what would have been the result of that referendum? We at People For Economic Justice don’t feel it would have taken more than an afternoon.

Part Two of the Talk in Wicklow

This segment covers the history of Direct Democracy, and the actual efforts being put in to get it back. Getting it back is the key element in the new political party, as most people don’t even realise that Ireland had it in the first place.

Part Three of the Talk in Wicklow

The third video is a somewhat harrowing outlook on the current state of the economy, but with some good suggestions going forward at the end.