New ‘Toolkit to Open Government’ encourages people to play an active role in democracy

10th June 2015

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Press Release

10 June 2015

The independent think tank TASC has today released a new series of online guides that shine a light on how government works and show how ordinary citizens can play an active role in shaping the decisions that affect their lives.

The Toolkit to Open Government (which is available at www.tasc.ie/opengovtoolkit) is a set of 10 user guides covering a number of key areas.

It will be launched today at a seminar in Dublin by the country’s new Head of Lobbying Regulation, Ms Sherry Perreault.

TASC’s Open Government Project Manager, Nuala Haughey – who developed the guides with input from a range of experts – explained that some of the guides deal with how decisions are made and how they can be influenced.

The guides include information on:

  • How national policies are made, including national plans and strategies;
  • How the Budget process works;
  • How laws made and influenced;
  • How the European Union works.

The guides in the Toolkit to Open Government contain practical information, tips, case studies and resources that will help citizens and civil society groups to ask questions, seek information, query public policy decisions and promote alternatives.

“We can all play a role in our democracy, not just by voting every few years, but by taking an active part in decision-making at different levels, be it in our local council, or at national or European level. The purpose of this Toolkit is to help and encourage people to engage with the people who take decisions in our democracy in an informed and realistic way,” Nuala Haughey said.

Notes to editors:

TASC (www.tasc.ie) is an independent progressive think-tank promoting action on social change grounded in evidence-based policy proposals. Our vision is of a flourishing society based on equality, social justice, transparent democracy and sustainable economic activity.

TASC has a long track record in promoting democratic accountability and integrity in government and public life. These include TASC’s ground-breaking Democracy Commission in 2003 and the first ever democratic audit of Ireland, 'Power to the people? Assessing democracy in Ireland,’ 2007.

In recent years, TASC has also been actively engaged with other civil society groups and citizens in Ireland’s efforts as part of its membership of the international alliance, the Open Government Partnership.

Lobbying Regulation

Ms Perreault is the official in charge of the forthcoming online registration system for lobbying, which is designed to provide information to the public about who is lobbying whom and about what.

The lobbying regime, which takes effect in September 2015, is a key element of a series of legal reforms by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform which are designed to open government decisions up to fuller public scrutiny.

Media contact: Nuala Haughey 01-6169050 or nhaughey@tasc.ie

 

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Shana Cohen
Email: scohen@tasc.ie
Tel: +353 1 6169050

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