We are supposed to live in a democracy. But we end up with governments who break election promises and do the opposite of what they promised.
Even when well-intentioned politicians try to act in the interests of the majority, large corporations often work behind the scenes to obstruct and limit change.
Real democracy can only develop when there is a tradition of ‘people power’ – when people empower themselves by mobilising to achieve what they want. People Before Profit will seek to extend democratic decision-making by:
- Strengthening local democracy by abolishing control by unelected CEOs of local councils. In Dublin City Council, for example, 50 of the 52 councillors voted against an incinerator. But the unelected management ignored them and commissioned one. We will change the laws to take away this power from unelected management.
- Cutting the salaries of TDs. TDs who are paid the average industrial wage would have a better understanding of what austerity means. Their pensions should also be based on length of service, including their Dáil service and the rest of their working lives. People Before Profit’s TDs take the average industrial wage, donating the remaining pay to fund our campaigns.
- Introducing a re-call procedure for TDs who vote against items in their manifestos. Where it can be shown that a TD voted in the opposite way to their election literature, there must be a mechanism to put down motions to trigger a re-call.
- Ensure Ministers are limited to one special adviser, paid at the same rate as TDs. Politics should not be about awarding cronies with super-salaries.
- End the practice of commissioning consultancy reports from private accountancy/consultancy firms with a corporate bias.
- Extend the Freedom of Information Act to cover private firms that receive contracts to run public services. Abolish fees for Freedom of Information requests.
- Ban lobbying by PR agencies working on behalf of corporations. Ensure there is no preferential access for corporations.
- Ban Ministers and senior public officials from joining boards of corporations operating in areas relevant to their competence for a period of five years after leaving office.
- Introduce citizens’ assemblies, based on town hall meetings, which can choose delegates for national assemblies on a rotating basis.
- End the patronage system. All appointments should be advertised. The power to appoint to state boards should be removed from Ministers and vested in a Board that is ratified by a citizens’ assembly.
- Give citizens a right to referenda on receipt of 50,000 signatories.
- Reduce the voting age to 16.