On 14th November 2018 we launched Evidence Matters Ireland, supported by Science Foundation Ireland. Citizens from across the country went to the Oireachtas to tell policymakers why evidence matters to them.
People and community groups went to Leinster House to tell TDs, Irish Members of Parliament, why evidence matters to the public and why they expect politicians and civil servants to discuss it openly. The group was welcomed to the Oireachtas by Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD.
Sixteen members of the public from varied backgrounds, ranging from a beekeeper to an inter-county hurler, each gave a 1-minute speech about why evidence personally matters to them. The speakers urged government to use evidence in policy making on housing, loneliness, the environment, cycling and the Irish language.
This is just the start of conversation between TDs, members of the Seanad and citizens of Ireland, and we will be encouraging further discussions as part of our Evidence Matters campaign.
What are the key things we’re asking for?
Síle Lane, Head of international campaigns and policy, Sense about Science “As the idea of a “post truth” public rumbles through public life, people have been asking us what it means and whether politicians might start ignoring the public values of truthfulness and accountability. These people coming to the Dáil today are challenging the caricature that the public is uninterested in the soundness of policy. They have different opinions, they don’t agree on what evidence to prioritise and others would no doubt disagree with them. But in uniting over its importance to understanding, accountability and scrutiny, we hope they’ll inspire TDs to strike for better in public life.”
Minister John Halligan Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills with special responsibility for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development Minister “As public representatives in Dáil Éireann and the Houses of the Oireachtas, there is an onus on politicians and policy makers to ensure that government policy, which can have far reaching implications for the people of Ireland, is made through informed, data-driven analysis and debate. I am delighted to invite Sense about Science and Science Foundation Ireland to bring real life stories to the Houses of the Oireachtas, to shine a light on the importance of evidence-based policy making during Science Week 2018.”
Professor Mark Ferguson Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland “Science Foundation Ireland invests in world-leading research in Ireland. As an agency, we are passionate about ensuring that research, funded by the public, provides societal benefit to the people of Ireland – be that through medical breakthroughs or generating data to support government policy making. I am very enthusiastic about this partnership with Sense about Science which provides us with an opportunity to highlight the importance of evidence-based policy making and the impact that publicly-funded research can have.”
Evidence Matters Ireland has been covered in the Irish Times – you can read the report here.