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Thursday 21 September 2017

OECD highlights lack of female politicians and trust in Coalition

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

IRELAND employs more workers in government and state agencies than the vast bulk of OECD countries.

A snapshot of how we are governed says that 16.4pc of the workforce is employed in the civil service and other public bodies, compared with 15.5pc across the OECD.

It also reveals we have fewer women politicians than the average, and that people are less happy with the government and health system than in most of the 34 member countries.

The 'Government at a Glance 2013' report, published yesterday, measures the performance of governments in the OECD across more than 50 indicators.

These range from hospital waiting times to government spending and from public sector employment to female representation in parliament.

It finds that despite trust diminishing, people are generally pleased with the public services they receive, and that we have one of the best returns on education spending among member states.

THRESHOLD

But it reveals we fall far behind the best-performing countries in terms of women's participation in politics.

Some 15pc of TDs and senators are women, compared with an average of almost 30pc across 34 countries.

Just 12 of the 34 member countries have reached or exceeded the 30pc representational threshold recommended by the United Nations.

Other findings include:

* Irish people spend less time in hospital than the average, at 6.3 days compared with eight.

* Reading scores are higher than the average, taking into account the spend on education, but scores for mathematics are slightly below the average.

* Each citizen's share of government debt amounts to just over $40,000 (€29,700), the fourth-highest among OECD countries. Only Japan (almost $80,000, the US ($50,000) and Canada ($45,000) are ahead.

* The average contribution per person to government revenues is €11,100 ($15,000), about the average among member states.

Worryingly for the Government, it also finds that trust in the Government has fallen to 35pc from 63pc in 2007.

Just three in every 10 people has confidence in the Government, but even fewer – just 20pc – have belief in our political leaders.

It reveals a worrying lack of positivity among ordinary people in what the Government is trying to achieve in office, but notes that fewer than 5pc of people take part in online consultations or submit their views.

OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria said "urgent" action was needed by governments to help restore faith among people in the political system.

"Action needs to be taken urgently. Building back trust is crucial to implement the necessary structural and fiscal reforms that are key to restoring growth and promoting well-being," he said.

The report also reveals that more than 70pc of Irish people are satisfied with the police, and that more than 80pc of us are happy with our education system – the highest level in the OECD.

However, satisfaction with the availability of quality health care is below the average - about 65pc said they were happy.

Irish Independent

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