Government pork-barrel politics adds to public disillusionment

November 22, 2015

Press Release: Government pork-barrel politics adds to public disillusionment with politics
The news that former Environment Minister, Phil Hogan, interfered with a selection process for projects to receive State funding, raises serious concerns about how this Government takes decisions on the spending of public money, according to the Social Democrats.   RTE’s This Week reporter, John Burke, revealed how a project in the Taoiseach’s constituency of Mayo, which was rated at number 137 out of 150 applications, was catapulted by Phil Hogan to 55th place and received 180,000 euro, one of the highest amounts allocated,

Social Democrats TD Roisin Shortall today said

“The promise by this Government that it would practice a new kind of open and transparent politics rings very hollow now.  Like their predecessors in Fianna Fail, this Government continues to regard taxpayers money as their own political slush-fund, to be used to bolster their own positions or those of their Cabinet colleagues.”

“Over the course of this Government we have seen various Ministers engage in pork-barrel politics in respect of Sports Capital grants, primary-care centres, disabled persons’ grants, hospital projects, transport projects and the scheme to support national organisations.  Transparent procedures for selecting projects for funding are frequently disregarded by Ministers who make allocation decisions based on political consideration rather than on the basis of need.”

Deputy Shortall pointed out that a significant number of these decisions favour the Taoiseach’s constituency of Mayo.

“Rather than participating in this kind of Political cronyism, The Taoiseach should be showing leadership to his Cabinet colleagues in this regard”.

Last week the Social Democrats launched a proposal for an Independent Anti-Corruption Agency.  Not only would such an agency address issues arising in respect of the virtual collapse of the Cregan Inquiry, but it would also act as a watchdog on government decisions on funding allocations.

“The Taoiseach’s failure to ensure openness and accountability in the allocation of public money contributes hugely to the lack of public trust in politicians.  In essence there’s been no change in the practice or standards of this Government, compared to that of their predecessors.”