It’s taken 30 years and eight Government decisions but as Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform, I'm proud to have delivered this week a new and independent Electoral Commission for Ireland.
The establishment of An Coimisiún Toghcháin marks a milestone in the reform and modernisation of our electoral system, and the realisation of a key Green Party commitment secured in the Programme for Government.
Chaired by Hon. Ms. Justice Marie Baker, the new Electoral Commission will be directly accountable to the Oireachtas and will have a range of functions that are vitally important for the integrity and robustness of our electoral system, including regulating online political advertising and protecting elections and referendums against online disinformation.
It will also help us ensure better representation by reviewing electoral boundaries to ensure they reflect demographic change; it will remove barriers to participation by researching the experiences of marginalised or disenfranchised groups; and it will lead on the communication of impartial, reliable information on voting, elections and referendums to everyone, including hard to reach groups.
Having appeared as a committment in no fewer than five Programmes for Government since 1977, the establishment of An Coimisiún Toghcháin provides further evidence that the Greens are delivering on long-held goals in collaboration with our Government partners. It also follows on from the passing of the Electoral Reform Act 2022 last summer. This is all excellent news for our democracy and for upholding the high democratic standards of Ireland's electoral processes.