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The Social Democrats will today launch a policy document called Honest Politics – Restoring trust in politics and public life’. The proposals contained in the document aim to tackle corruption in Irish political and public life with an emphasis on strengthening transparency in decision-making processes. The party says public monies and resources are too often used as a political slush fund where the needs of insiders or those within the golden circle are placed ahead of the public interest.

The policy proposals include, among other things: a commitment to establishing an Independent Anti-Corruption unit with significant wide-ranging detection and prosecution powers, the establishment of an Electoral Commission, the introduction of an Oireachtas Commission vetting procedure for all senior appointments to public bodies, reform of the Ministers and Secretaries Act to make senior public servants accountable for their actions, and a commitment to poverty-proof all legislative, policy, and budgetary decisions.

Party co-leader Catherine Murphy said:
“Trust is vital for a healthy democracy. Far too often people have watched as the public interest has been ignored while those in the know or in golden circle do very well. We’ve seen very low turn-out numbers in some recent elections and far too many people say they have just lost trust in the political system and feel utterly frustrated.  People need to know that an evidence-based approach underpins all resource allocation decisions and those decisions pass both equality and poverty- proofing tests.

“Meanwhile major political controversies regarding the allocation of big contracts and public resources continue to occur and people legitimately feel that the cosy nexus between business and politics is alive and well.

“Too often there is little if any accountability when wrongdoing is uncovered and that is why we believe that an Independent Anti-Corruption unit – with wide-ranging powers to investigate and prosecute is a necessary step which can not only help restore much-needed trust but also to put an end to the need for expensive and lengthy tribunals and commissions of investigation.”

Cll. Paul Mulville, the Dublin Fingal candidate, added:

Irish people have a high level of trust in the electoral process, but we can’t take that for granted. We’ve seen how the farce over how the voting register works in this election, with the possible disenfranchisement of thousands of voters who registered last year. We need a new national independent body to oversee all aspects of elections, including voter education and promotion of voting across all parts of Irish society.”

24th January 2019


1. ‘Honest Politics: Restoring trust in politics and public life’ is available here.

2. The Party has 20 candidates running in the General Election

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