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Should the brokerage work done by TDs be regarded more as a cause or a consequence of the weakness of the Dail vis-a-vis government, or are the two not related to each other?”

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  1. Introduction
  2. Brokerage
  3. Causes and criticisms
  4. Conclusion

Ireland was once qualified ?a periphery dominated centre' (Garvin, 1981), or put differently, a political system in which the government is monopolized by local interests rather than national ones. For example, Irish Teachta De'las (TDs) spend most of their time protecting the interests of their constituency and constituents helping them with their welfare and administrative problems. This phenomenon has been described in the corresponding literature that has flourished in the second half of the 20th century as ?clientelism? or, more accurately in the Irish case, as ?brokerage?. How can this be explained? Norris (1997) identified the problem of the explanation of TDs' important constituency service as a real ?puzzle? while other tried to identify the ?push factors? that increased constituency effort by politicians and ?pull factors? that decreased it (Heitshusen, Young, and Wood, 2005).

More precisely, the factor we propose to examine here refers to the relationship between TDs' constituency work and the weakness of the Irish Parliament. The latter is sometimes considered as a consequence and sometimes a cause of Irish brokerage. On one hand ?there are some who believe that constituency work causes TDs to become distracted from their role as legislators, which is considered their real job? and so weaken the Dáil (O'Leary, 2011:343). On the other hand, Gallagher and Komito (2010:247) argue that ?some TDs [?] come to prioritize national policies, while others, who find their initial national-level goals to be unachievable to acquire a stronger local focus over time?.

[...] ?Clinics are generally advertised in the local press, they take place in local pubs, community halls or hotels and are a place where constituents are seen individually and confidentially, the details of their problems are seen to, and they either receive a postal response or they call back to see if their problem has been sorted (Komito, 1985: 79). many ways, politicians' brokerage activities are similar to the activities of a range of professional mediators; [ ] the difference derives from their special access to the state bureaucracy and their specific motives in carrying out brokerage functions? (Gallagher and Komito, 2010:237). [...]


[...] Public administration and public policy in Ireland: theory and methods. London: Routledge. Komito, L Politics and Clientelism in Urban Ireland: Information, Reputation and Brokerage. Available at: http://ucd.ie/komito/thesis.htm Kelly V ?Focus on clients: a reappraisal of the effectiveness of TDs interventions?, Administration, pp. 130?151. Chubb, B The Government and Politics of Ireland. London: Longwood, 3rd edition. Gramsci A Prison Notebooks. London: Lawrence and Wishart. Therborn G What does the ruling class do when it rules? London: New Left Books/Verso. Frears J French parliament: loyal workhorse, poor watchdog?. [...]


[...] O'Leary E constituency orientation of modern Irish Political Studies, Vol No pp. 329-343. Norris P puzzle of constituency service?, Journal of Legislative Studies, Vol.3, Issue pp.29-49. Murphy M. C ?Reforms of Dail Eireann: The Dynamics of Parliamentary Change?, Parliamentary Affairs, Vol Issue pp. 437-453. Hazelkorn E ?Class, clientelism and the Political Process in the Republic of Ireland?. In: Clansey P., Drudy S., Lynch K. and O'Dowd L (eds). Ireland: A Sociological Profile. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration in association with the Sociological Association of Ireland, pp. 326-343. [...]

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