SocDems Circulate Reform Proposals to All Party Leaders and Independents
The Social Democrats have today circulated their document on Political Reform and Tackling Corruption to all party leaders and Independent members of the 32nd Dáil.
According to the SocDems leaders the document sets out “ to revitalise, rebalance and
re-invent our political system by introducing strategic reforms in the areas of parliamentary operations, governmental decision-making, electoral organisation, political funding and anti-corruption”.
The Social Democrat measures circulated today include:
- The establishment of an Independent Anti-Corruption Agency
- An Irish Electoral Commission to coordinate and drive electoral and anti-corruption innovations
- Reform how senior appointments are made to ensure state bodies are headed up by the best and most qualified candidates, rather than the most politically connected
- Along with significant reforms of the Oireachtas and an overhauling of the political party funding system.”
Catherine Murphy TD said:
"There is an opportunity now for all parties to work together to overhaul the way in which politics is done in this country and restore peoples faith in the political process. It is incumbent upon those elected to deliver the real and meaningful change that has been demanded by the people in successive elections."
1st March 2016
“Citizens were consistently promised real reform by the major parties during General Election 2011, but Fine Gael/Labour’s supposed democratic revolution came and went and all we have to show for it is the odd extra Dáil sitting”. “This was not what was promised and it is not good enough.”
“These measures will radically re-structure how our political system works and empower parliament in holding government to account.”
Anne-Marie McNally – 086-3753415
Notes to the Editor
Towards Open and Transparent Government
Strengthen transparency in decision-making
We will end “Golden Circle” politics by eliminating the culture of “jobs for the boys” by:
Establish an Independent Anti-Corruption Agency (IACA)
- Introducing Oireachtas Committee vetting for all senior appointments;
- Establishing an independent judicial appointments body;
- Poverty-proofing and using evidence-based resource allocation in legislative, policy and budgetary decisions;
- Replacing the Official Secrets Act 1963 with legislation that strikes a better balance between maintaining state security and protecting whistle-blowers;
- Introducing an e-governance platform, abolishing the Economic Management Council and publishing extensive data in open source.
We propose to establish a new Independent Anti-Corruption Agency (IACA) –overseen by a newly established Dáil oversight committee - to:
Establish an Irish Electoral Commission
- Tackle white collar crime and corruption in the public and corporate spheres;
- Act as a standing Commission of Investigation to replace ad hoc Tribunals;
- Assume the anti-corruption remit of a range of government agencies and bodies;
- Provide advisory services for public bodies on anti-corruption issues;
- Monitor and investigate public procurement activities;
- Conduct sectoral reviews and initiate investigations as and when necessary;
- Research and propose updates to anti-corruption legislation.
Establish an overarching independent statutory body exercising operational and regulatory powers all matters electoral in Ireland to:
Institute Meaningful Oireachtas Reform
- Take on the electoral and referendum-based functions of all public bodies;
- Research and innovate to enhance the electoral process;
- Trial new mechanisms to increase mobilisation and make voting more accessible;
- Administer voter registration, boundary division and redraw, political finance regulation, voter education election and engage in campaign oversight.
Lack of authority and autonomy substantially undermines the effectiveness of the Oireachtas in holding government to account and engaging meaningfully in the legislative process. We aim to address this problem by:
- Making the Oireachtas, and not government, the primary initiator, drafter and driver of legislation;
- Removing agenda control from government and transferring it to parliament;
- Allocating committee chairpersonships and Houses of the Oireachtas Commission posts using the D’Hondt method;
- Redistributing power to a reformed local government system;
- Reforming the whip system to respect the voting rights of members;
- Review, revise and reform the Standing Orders of both Houses;
- Strengthen Oireachtas Committees and increase their involvement in the legislative process;
- Require that public representatives declare significant liabilities as well as assets;
- Eliminate salary top-up payments made to committee chairpersons, whips, and members of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission.
Rebalance Political Funding
Our political funding model acts as a barrier to the on-going development and evolution of our party system, making the system less responsive to the needs and wishes of the voters of Ireland. We propose to:
- Change how parliamentary funding and resourcing is distributed to give members better access to and control over how such resources are used.
- Alter the apportionment of Electoral Acts funding to prevent qualifying parties receiving more than their rightful share of the fund and to help fund the political education and outreach work of the Irish Electoral Commission