Political parties are likely to escape punishment for posing as bogus pollsters because the state’s ethics watchdog says it lacks the power to investigate Controversy.
The Public Service Standards Commission (Sipo) said it could not comment directly on parties asking their members to misrepresent themselves as researchers.
Almost a week after it emerged that the parties were secretly polling unsuspecting voters, the watchdog released a statement saying, “The commission has no role in overseeing all the activities of an organization. political party. For a question to fall within the competence of the commission, it must engage the provisions of the legislation supervised by the commission, âadded a spokesperson.
Sipo’s position means it is unclear whether an authority will now investigate the bogus voting practices that the country’s main political parties have admitted to be wrong since they came to light.
An Garda SÃochÃ¡na said she was awaiting the outcome of the Data Protection Commissioner’s investigation into how political parties collect information about their members and voters.
However, the Data Protection Commissioner is unlikely to make a recommendation to GardaÃ on the fake surveys, as the parties claim that the information collected has been anonymized and not linked to personal data.
Sipo’s position means the controversial practice, which Sinn FÃ©in said it was still using less than two years ago, will not be called into question by the state watchdog charged with overseeing standards. policies.
TD Labor Party Ged Nash, which brings an ethics law and lobbying bill to the DÃ¡il later this week, said Sipo should be empowered to tackle issues such as bogus polls.
“The poll controversy and the revolving door between politics and big business shows once again why we need a thorough examination of the powers and scope of Sipo in order to properly regulate the conduct of politics in Ireland and fully enforce our up-to-date laws, âNash said.
Details of the fake polls first appeared in an internal manual for Sinn FÃ©in activists.
The party’s election toolkit has asked members to use fake ID badges and impersonate a bogus polling company called the Irish Market Research Agency (IMRA).
Sinn FÃ©in’s Eoin Ã Broin first claimed that Sinn FÃ©in stopped pretending to be independent researchers in 2016.
However, Mr Ã Broin later admitted that he secretly questioned his constituents ahead of the Dublin Mid West by-election in November 2019.
It later emerged that the Fine Gael gave party members fake business cards to masquerade as independent researchers.
TÃ¡naiste Leo Varadkar’s own campaign team used fake polls ahead of his successful election campaign in 2011.
Mr. Varadkar also passed himself off as a bogus pollster when he was a member of the Young Fine Gael.
Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe also admitted their supporters were posing as pollsters.
Fianna FÃ¡il first claimed that its members never posed as independent researchers to survey the public.
However, the party later admitted that its members were posing as bogus pollsters to gather information.
Taoiseach MicheÃ¡l Martin said the party had not engaged in false polls since 2007.
The Green Party was also forced to reverse an original denial and admit that its members were posing as independent researchers.