A New Way of Doing Politics
There is an urgent need for meaningful political reform of both our political culture and the political system. The choice is between the continuation of the old boys’ club that protects and promotes its own and legislates for the few, not the many and a new type of politics that respects the democratic will of the people and operates with transparency, equality and fairness.
Power is centralised in the hands of a small number of Ministers. The Dáil, Seanad and Oireachtas Committees are denied any meaningful role in the legislative process. Local government continues to be stripped of what little power it once had. People have even less opportunity to influence the decisions that affect their daily lives.
Politicians pay and expenses reflect a culture of privilege and entitlement that was inappropriate during the boom times and is simply immoral today.
The banking crisis showed the Irish people that a circle existed where people were appointed on the basis of who they knew and public money could be used to pay for financial gamblers’ debts – our hard- earned cash used to bail out banks.
Sinn Féin Would:
- End the centralising of power in the hands of a small number
- Change the law to allow for the impeachment or removal from the Dáil of any TD involved in corruption, deliberate misuse of public money or fraud.
- Cut ministerial salaries by 40% and TDs and Senators salaries by 20%. End the payment of unvouched expenses for politicians.
- Increase the power of TDs to hold the Government to account and to question the Taoiseach and Ministers on issues of importance.
- Give all TDs the power to bring forward draft legislation for consideration by the committee of which they are a member.
- Give Dáil committees investigative powers and allocate committee chairs proportionally on the basis of party/ group strength with no additional financial reward attached to them.
- Overhaul appointments to State boards to ensure multiple directorships are limited; make all appointments transparent; ensure directors’ salaries are fair; implement gender quotas; and provide for timely provision of accounts and regular auditing.
- Establish an Office of Planning Regulator.
- Reform and empower local government, including increasing participatory democracy.
- Reduce the voting age to 16.
- Extend voting rights in Presidential elections to people living in
the North and to the Irish diaspora.