The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, has received Cabinet approval for the nomination of ordinary members of the Electoral Commission, which will be entitled An Coimisiún Toghcháin. These nominations will now be sent forward as motions to both Houses of the Oireachtas.
The four ordinary members whose nomination has been approved by Cabinet are John Curran, Maura Quinn, Alex Attwood and Caroline Fennell. If agreed by both Houses of the Oireachtas the President will then designate the individuals as ordinary members of An Coimisiún Toghcháin.
If approved the four ordinary members will form part of An Coimisiún’s seven-person membership upon its establishment, which will take place in early 2023. The ordinary members will sit alongside two ex officio members – the Clerk of the Dáil and the Ombudsman – and the Chairperson, who will be a serving or retired judge of the Superior Courts.
The four nominees were selected through an independent selection process which was conducted by the Public Appointments Service.
“I am glad to have received government approval to put these nominations to both Houses of the Oireachtas as this represents an important step towards An Coimisiún’s establishment. An Coimisiún will have responsibility for a wide range of electoral functions and will be at the heart of our democratic processes. It will be independent of Government, reporting directly to the Oireachtas. It will take on several existing statutory electoral functions from the outset, including responsibility for the registration of political parties, the work currently carried out by Referendum Commissions, Constituency Commissions and Local Electoral Area Boundary Committees. In addition, it will have responsibility for the regulation of online political advertising during electoral periods, oversight of the Electoral Register, and a new public information, research and advisory role in relation to electoral matters. These functions will give the Commission a central role in our electoral system from the outset, bringing together a broad range of responsibilities. I am confident that the ordinary members who are being recommended for appointment bring together a broad range of skills, expertise and perspectives which will bring about a strong electoral commission.”