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Here's how data mining can offer fresh insights on Irish politics

Professor Alan Smeaton teamed up with DCU's Dr Michael Courtney and Insight's David Azcona to write about how data mining and analytics can offer fresh insights into the operation of the Irish political system. As Irish politics has become more issues focused with individuals occasionally breaking across party lines to vote on various matters, researchers can use data science and AI techniques to gain insights into political alliances that were previously unseen. 

The authors write, "While voting and legislative behaviour remains quite tightly controlled by Irish party leaderships in the "New Politics" era following the election of 2016, there is evidence of cracks in the mould of Irish parliamentary behaviour. Individual TDs and senators are allowed more freedom to establish independent legislative agendas, even within the governing Fine Gael party."

They also say, "Using the archive of contributions of our TDs and senators to legislation and debates, we can use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to examine such issues as determining where our elected politicians fit in the networks of political party structures."

You can read the piece on RTE's Brainstorm here.