OireachtasBase.IE: “A NEW Political Place” (pitch for NUIM Apprentices Dragons Den task)


 Background Information

Having had experiences with politicians on social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, one can notice that TDs, Councillors and Senator pages are either: used daily, used every few weeks or months, are hardly ever used, have created a page but have never been used, have false accounts created in their name or, have no account at all. Also, attached to this problem, those who use twitter for political reasons can share their opinions but you cannot necessarily view the opinions of others in response to their arguments, as it is generally a one way conversation. Facebook, being a world wide social media innovation, is generally not used for political reasons, as you can see Enda Kenny page just points you links to other political pages, there are no real discussions taking place.


Oireachteasbase.ie will be an official political social media website established for TDs, Senators and Councillors alone, where they can both socially interact with each other in a closed group or have an open group where people of the public can take part in discussion.

The profile page will be similar to Facebook, where each Politician has their own account, which will be created for them, with their own user name and password.

People of the general public cannot make similar profile pages but, they will have access to conversations by means similar to boards.ie; they have posting accounts rather than accounts like the politicians. The people can share their political opinion openly while continuing to have a sole politician user website. Politicians will be added officially by head of the social media website, to avoid people creating false pages under politician’s names.

Members of the public can follow or add politicians to Politician lists provided on their posting accounts and the politicians will be notified when a posting account member has followed or added their page. This way the 
posting account members can take part in forum discussions.

The social media page will be accessible through the Dáil Éireann homepages in the Dáil and through politician’s homepages to encourage their use.

Each politician will be categorized in terms of party and constituency. Supporters of either the Party or the people within their given constituency will have access to their pages easily through a provided search engine. Each politician’s page will contain the following “required” information:

1)      Their current constituency

2)      Their political background

3)      Their policies and aims

4)      Updates of their weekly/monthly news

Similar to the NUIM Moodle website, there will be a column on the right side of the profile page which contain the following Information links providing access to alternative pages:

1)      A link to an information page on the workings of the Dáil.

2)      A link to a list of TDs and Senators with each of their parties and    constituencies.

3)      A link to general political news updates.

4)      A link to a detailed account of the history of theIrishState.

5)      A link to the Forums.

6)      A link to examine the Irish Constitution.

7)      A link to current issues/events that will be explained e.g. referendums.

8)      A link to at the minute Dáil debates, and maps of the constituencies.

A home page will also be provided updating the current discussions, which are taking place on the discussion forums provided on each profile page. Each poster will have access to information depending on the politician they have added or are following

Closed accounts; if parties wish to have discussions privately they will have a provided closed discussion forum for all party members across the country. All party members will have access to the forum; politicians have an option of creating smaller discussion forums in which they can add members, for uses such as communicating with fellow Party members or other politicians within their constituency.

A single political social media network is greatly needed as Twitter and Facebook have many flaws, which are not benefiting the public to the extent they should be. A political social media network would encourage politicians and people to interact with each other. It would generate an understanding of politics as people would enter the website to learn specifically about politics. It would be a useful tool for students or people who feel they do not understand politics greatly.
The Politician has the chance to put forward their aims and gain publicity from using a single political website. This would also generate competition between political TDs to post up their policies and respond if other politicians are doing so. Therefore this will encourage politicians to communicate politics to the general public to a greater extent.
The people then have access to a political website which deals solely in the TDs and Senators. The forums would provide a voice for people, in which the politician may consider in the further. It also removes the barrier between politicians and the people. The home page will keep posting account members up-to-date with discussions on each politician’s page which they have added or followed. Thus, their knowledge would become more open and their political understanding will be bettered.
The links give easy access to information, which would encourage people to learn about politics as the information is at their fingertips. Thus, with politics explained throughout history, legislation, and news updates daily, along with explaining new political legislation or amendments, people may be more inclined to vote in elections, or have a confident understanding vote of Yes or No in referendums in the further.
Closed private groups between TDs may encourage a more organized, Influential force of TDs within political parties, or TDs within a constituency, which may in turn better their experience in politics with will benefit the citizens ofIreland as a whole.


7 Responses to “OireachtasBase.IE: “A NEW Political Place” (pitch for NUIM Apprentices Dragons Den task)”

  1. Frances Says:

    Fab idea

  2. Adrian Kavanagh Says:

    Desmond O’Toole (via Facebook): Third pitch for oireachtas social media site. All of this already exists elsewhere with no charge on the public purse. Issue of false social media accounts not as serious as suggested. I’m out.

  3. johnny Fallon Says:

    It is quite true that many elements of this idea exist elsewhere. However, if I may be so bold, I would suggest that in the mould of Steve Jobs a great idea does not necessarily involve inventing something new, but rather taking what is there and making it work better. The current problem with many of the aspects is that they are not accessible. This idea would seem to bring them all together. It also has a number of uses that are not mentioned, such as giving the public an oportunity to submit Parlimentary Questions, organising the work and interaction of Oireachtas Committees etc.

    Social media and internet is already changing the way politics is done. In the future ift will be far more important for politicians to engage with it. At the moment it has two main problems. The first is that many of our politicians are not comfortable with new media. This idea could be seen as a learning eercise also, a way of teaching them the value and purpose of direct media connections. If you like it is something of a Facebook.Twitter for beginners. The second problem new media has is the ‘abuse’ question. These pages would need to be very different to the very open and democratic nature of Twitter etc. They would need strong moderation to only allow genuine questions or suggestions, rants andventing could not be allowed or they would end up serving no use and the politicians will just never check them.

    Finally thelast issue is that of time. As a politician or Minister you will quicly amass a few thousand followers nationwide. Most of these will never vote for you and the time spent answering their comments and queries may be seen as of questionable value. Therefore some integration with constituency offices is necessary and agin moderation to ensure that the right people are being asked things that can be answered or thoughts can be gathered on. Mush as people love to place a rant about bondholders on a backbench TDs page, it is an utter waste of time. Such items would need to be directed to an appropriate discussion or perhaps answered elsewhere.

    In short, I think this idea has potential, but the moderation aspects of it would be the key. The other side to it is to set out very clear aims about what it is hoping to achieve. However, with a little more work I might be willing to make an offer……

  4. NSalmon (@N_Salmon) Says:

    While social media is a great way for politicians to engage with the public and vice versa, it is limited in that it excludes the 700,000+ who do not regular have access to internet. That figure is from 2006 Census so is likely to have reduced somewhat over the past few years with popularisation of internet enabled mobile phones etc. but it still remains a problem if we are to try engage as much of the population as possible in politics. It would be unfair to exclude a particular section.

  5. Tomas Says:

    Too open for massive abuse from users, wont actually get anything done i feel. I agree with A.K. (Desmond O’Toole)

  6. fionasherlock Says:

    It seems the main issue with the inauthenticity on political campaigns made through social media is the lack of a campaign strategy, involving posting regular, quality and authentic content.

    If a politician or press office aren’t prepared to do this through the biggest and most widely accessible networks, I can’t see them creating extra content to post through this platform to reach a smaller audience.

    Social media campaigns that used platforms to post to Facebook, i.e. Hootsuite often result in less engagement.

    The issue here is not the platform, Facebook and Twitter work for other political figures i.e. Obama and David Cameron. Silvio Berlusconi saus he won’t resign and the market’s go mental that evening. The problem lies with the Irish political canon refusing to accept or plan for social media to any great result.

    Creating a political platform like this would embed the politicians and their messages further into the lexicon of political jargon, instead of placing their content and messages within and context and framework that is universally understood by all.

    Sure Facebook and Twitter have their flaws, the erosion of nuance with the ‘like’ button for example, but if Google have to spend several years and a few failed projects to present a competitor, I think this might have a hard time getting off the ground.

    Politicians will want the most bang for their buck, so if they are going to start creating quality content and begin engaging on a regular bases, they will want to do this to the masses, not to a small group of people who could already garner this information from newspapers, press releases, and commentary on sites such as Politics.ie

  7. Rebecca Leydon Says:

    Great idea and very encouraging to see the level of work put into developing this as a feasible future game. The enthusiasm of those involved in the project really shines through and, as a business and cspe teacher, I could really see myself using this as a class-room tool in future.


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