Every self respecting democracy in the world operates under the rule of law. Electoral law is particularly important because it is based on the authority of the people. Any interference, any sly manipulation of such law seriously dilutes the quality of that democratic authority.
Stephen Collins, political editor of the Irish Times, explained on RTEs News at One (4th item) yesterday how Irish politicians have been breaking the law for years by supervising how councillors are voting in Seanad elections.
This illegal activity is to make sure that the councillors are voting according to deals worked out between the political parties.
The United Nations frequently sends teams of inspectors to emerging democracies around the world to ensure that such vote tampering does not occur; Irish politicians are often invited to join these inspection teams.
They must feel odd to find themselves strictly enforcing electoral laws that they have been openly flouting themselves for years.