This pamphlet is designed as a contribution to a debate which has already begun. The authors argue for less secrecy, because it shields incompetence and corruption and denies the public access to the workings of democracy.
The Beef Tribunal Report stated that if questions relating to the beef industry were answered in a more open and informative way in the Dail there would have been no need to go to the trouble and expense of setting up a tribunal of inquiry. Ireland's Government and public service share with Britain an almost obsessive secrecy. The most trivial and most important of official documents are kept from the public in a way that is increasingly at odds with both international practice and the country's European obligations in law. Secrecy is a breeding ground for incompetence, arrogant government and corruption. It is based on the assumption that the politicians know best, that the citizens must be protected from the truth. Secrecy in government gave us Greencore, Telecom and the Goodman scandals.For 200 years Sweden has had a constitutionally guaranteed freedom of information act. Increasingly such acts are the norm in democratic societies, from the U.S. to Canada, France, Australia and New Zealand.
Democracy Blindfolded makes the case for bringing Ireland into line with what is now a basic democratic practice. In the age of information, knowledge is power - we must bring that power to the source of democratic legitimacy - the people.