The Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, Dermot Ahern, has suggested that corporate and trade union donations to political parties be banned. Speaking to local authority members in Kilkenny, Mr Ahern said that the body politic is perceived to be corrupt but that the reality of that corruption is less certain. He said the onus is on politicians and political parties to clear their names, to investigate fully and thoroughly the extent and the nature of this corruption. He said to fail in this obligation would be to turn our back on democracy. He added that those involved in corruption will not be shielded by the political system.
Mr Ahern told the conference that in the light of recent revelations and accusations the onus is on all politicians to convince people that the honour of the political system can be reclaimed. He said he would be in favour of scrapping donations from corporate Ireland to political parties and that we must consider state funding for our democracy. He said it must also be considered that the fiscal links between political parties and trade unions be severed.
He suggested that donations from corporations to political parties be scrapped and replaced by State funding of parties. To help this process, Mr Ahern suggests the setting up of a democratic fund into which big business can put money which will be dispersed to political parties. He also raised the funding which parties such as the Labour Party receive from trade unions and said that severing these links should be considered.