Little party support for political rights
by Bernard Harbor

No party has included plans to allow more civil servants to engage in political activity in its 2020 election manifesto. And, when prompted by Fórsa, only Labour and the Social Democrats said they would support the measure if in Government.

As things stand, no civil servant above the grade of clerical officer is allowed to engage in political activity. Fórsa says the bar is set too low and that, while there is a need for restrictions at senior policy levels, most civil servants should have the same rights as everyone else to engage in political activity in their own time.

The union today published the political parties’ responses to a range of issues raised with them during the election campaign.

The assessment is based on party manifestos and other official election pledges. Fórsa also sent a draft to each party to give them the opportunity to clarify their positions if they wanted to.

The other specific civil service ask in the Fórsa questions concerned the union’s call for civil servants to have access to the Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court. Again, no party included this in its manifesto, and only the Social Democrats agreed to back the policy when prompted.

The union prioritised pay and working time in its questions to the parties. Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour and the Social Democrats commit to negotiate a new pay deal in their manifestos and, when prompted by Fórsa, the others said they would too.


All were fairly short on details, and there was scant support for addressing the additional working time introduced for many civil and public servants during the crisis.


The only two polices that every party supported was large-scale investment in house building and legislation to compel companies to declare their gender pay gaps.


See the full details of party positions HERE.

See our analysis of party positions on pay and related issues HERE

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