How to be an Active Citizen - RTÉ Radio Series and Podcasts
How to be an Active Citizen is a six-part series of educational radio programmes aimed at helping listeners to be active citizens in their own lives.
The series combines real-life examples with practical advice from experts and activists about how our government and institutions work and how we can get involved in decisions that affect us.
The series was originally broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra the digital channel in May/June 2016.
You can listen to the podcasts of the programmes below by clicking the play button.
You can also download the podcast in mp3 format by clicking the download button on each programme image.
|Episode 1||How to Vote|
Voting is democracy in action, yet a significant proportion of citizens choose not to cast a ballot in elections and referenda. In this programme, listeners learn about how representative democracy works in Ireland, including how to register to vote, how the proportional representation system works, and why every vote counts.
Case study: Nathan, a young member of the LGBT community, describes what it was like to vote for the first time and to be involved the 2015 Marriage Equality referendum campaign.
|Episode 2||How to be a Citizen Watchdog|
There are many ways that citizens can be active in ensuring that public officials are held accountable and that our public services are properly administered.
This programme explains how the Ombudsman and the Standards in Public Office Commission work to handle individual complaints and improve services and standards. Experts advise listeners when and how to complain about services or standards in public life.
|Episode 3||How to Work for Change|
Laws and policies are among the key tools that governments use to answer needs and find solutions to problems in our society, and to define and protect our rights. In this programme, listeners learn how laws and policies are shaped and made and how as citizens they can engage with the national political process to bring about changes they seek.
Case study: Mariaam Bhatti and Grainne O’Toole of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland share lessons from their successful campaign to end forced labour in Ireland.
|Episode 4||How to work with your Local Government|
From planning regulations, to traffic laws, parks, water services and libraries, local government plays a huge part in citizens’ lives. In this programme, listeners learn how our councils work, and how citizens can get involved in solving local problems and issues.
Case study: Gerry Cunnane from the community energy group Transition Kerry and Micheal O’Cuileain from Kerry County Council explain how they worked together to reduce energy costs in Tralee.
|Episode 5||How to Speak Up|
Whistleblowing takes different forms. Many cases of corruption and abuse of children, disabled, and elderly people that we know about have been exposed by people who have spoken up. In this programme, listeners learn how they can safely report abuse or wrongdoing and the legal protections that prevent whistleblowers from being penalised for making a protected disclosure.
Case study: Former Health Worker Louise Bayliss shares her experience of speaking up in exposing how patients with mental were treated in a Dublin institution.
|Episode 6||How to make the most of your Right to Know|
The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) is not just a useful tool for journalists – it is also a powerful way for citizens to access their own personal information as well as other records from hundreds of public bodies.
In this programme, we explain how to use the Freedom of Information Act and when and how to exercise your right to know under FOI.
Case study: Ciara McGrath, from the charity Crosscare, and Voldamars Svickis, explain how they used FOI to access Voldamars’s case file from his local social welfare office, and how this helped him to overturn a decision not to pay him unemployment benefit.
How to be an Active Citizen is based on TASC’s Toolkit to Open Government, a set of guides to how government works and how to get your voice heard. See below for the guides that are already available in PDF format. You can read all ten guides online at www.tasc.ie/opengovtoolkit
TASC TrainingTASC provides training on topics covered in the Active Citizen radio series. We are available to deliver tailored training to groups or individuals. See upcoming training events .
The How to be an Active Citizen radio series was produced by Aileen O’Meara Media and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland from the television licence fee, and by TASC.