Politicians expenses – When are we going to shout stop?

ONE must wonder what our breaking point is?
As the country and County Clare in particular battles for economic survival, our political elite continue to operate as if the gravy train rattles on regardless of our plight.
This week we reveal the expenses for August as claimed by our hard working public representatives. Remember that August was a time when the Dáil was not sitting, yet figures of almost €5,000 in expenses were claimed for that month.
How can politicians have the audacity to lecture us on how hard times are and how difficult are these decisions they have to make on our behalf, when they are clearly not living in the real world?
Our hospitals services are being threatened by the day, we are being braced for a drop in children’s allowance and other payments, not to mention a rise in various indirect taxes. And we mustn’t foget the host of new taxes being introduced from household charges to septic tanks registrations. Yet our TDs are paid thousands just to go to work?
For how long are we going to tolerate this blatant abuse of the public purse strings?
We are struggling to feed, clothe and educate our children, we are wondering how we will survive this recession and we are watching our young people leave this island in droves of despair in search of work.
Yet the country can apparently afford to pay over €25,000 in expenses to just six people for the month of August when they were ostensibly on holidays.
Of course they will defend the amounts and claim that ‘this is the system’, the expenses are ‘based over the course of a year’ and they ‘cover more than travel’. Don’t be fooled.
This is an outrageous amount of money to claim in expenses and they all do it. Not one of them has stood up and said, ‘this amount is not fair, I don’t spend this much going to and from work, I cannot in all conscience accept this money while the rest of my constituents are struggling to the extent they are’.
No, they take just under €5,000 a month tax free on top of their monthly TDs salary of €7,500. That’s not all either, of course there are top-ups for membership of various committees. Ask yourselves this: Are they worth it?
This is a national scandal, not just a homegrown one in Clare. Receiving over €1,000 a week in expenses just to turn up at work is a disgraceful example of why we are in the mess we are in. Defending it is an insult to our intelligence.
We’re facing into another so-called ‘austerity budget’ . In the lead-up to Christmas further cuts will be felt by families all over Clare, consumer confidence will take yet another hammering and businesses will suffer as a result.
Keep all of that in mind as your local TD trousers just under €5,000 in expenses for the month of December. Keep that in mind next time you see him.


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