Is it time to ban expenses for Politicians?

richie268

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Healy-Rae bullish over expenses - National News, Frontpage - Independent.ie


Healy-Rae bullish over expenses
TD is reimbursed for train trips at €72 a time -- when he's entitled to free JACKIE Healy-Rae has admitted that up until recently he has been driving to the Dail from his south Kerry constituency in the company of another Oireachtas member -- but he cannot say if they both claimed mileage expenses for their journey.

The 69-year-old politician -- who regularly travels to the capital by train for Dail sittings, claiming €72 for his ticket on each occasion, despite being entitled to free travel by virtue of his age -- similarly refused to identify the politician with whom he had been car pooling.

Mr Healy-Rae said: "A very short while ago, I never travelled by train. I drove all the time and there was a fellah, which I'm not prepared to name, we used drive half the way, each of us."

Asked if both of them had claimed mileage for the trips they took together in the same car, he responded mischievously, saying: "Oh, I couldn't tell you what we were doing. I don't know."

Turning to ongoing expenses he racks up through his €72 trips to Dublin by train, the Kerry TD, who was first elected to the Dail in 1997, explained his need for them on the basis that he had never had the benefit of free travel in his life.

"I've never had free travel in all my life. I never got free travel and I paid for my ticket, a dear ticket.

"I don't book for €10 like a lot of other fellows do. I buy my ticket at €72 a ticket. Are you satisfied with that?"

Asked if he might at least consider the purchase of a €10 train ticket, as opposed to the more expensive option of €72, so saving the taxpayer €62 in the process, he responded by asking what concern his travel arrangements were to the Sunday Independent.

A defiant Mr Healy-Rae added that he was under no obligation to secure his free travel pass, saying: "No, I'm under no obligation to do any of that kind of stuff.

"I know my own business and I won't be declaring it to you or anybody else.

"And when I feel like driving, I can go and get into the car and take the road from Kilgarvan and on to Rathmore, then on to Mallow and Mitchelstown and straight up to Abbeyleix and into Dublin."

Asked if he was also claiming mileage, he said: "I'm not prepared to answer that question. I had my car the week before last and I parked it up in the Dail. They open the gates for me and I go in fine."

Clearly annoyed at being questioned on the matter of his expenses claims, Deputy Healy-Rae ended the conversation, saying: "Do you think that I'm really going to answer these questions to you?

"Why don't you go after Ivor Callely and the Dublin fellahs? Look, I have something else to do.

"In actual fact, I'm very busy. That's all I'm going to say to you -- and good luck.

FFS i GIVE UP
 


richie268

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Although it would be nice to water board both individuals mentioned above and draw something from the pair that resembles truth!
 

laidback

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Yes it is time to end all expenses except for vouched travel expenses for those who live too far from the dail to travel to Dublin on a daily basis.

The parties receive funding - over €13 mill in 2009 and at the end of 2009 most were carrying fwd money they hadn't spent (see SIPO website). the parties could provide their elected members with an allowance from their finding for local literature and a website.

TDs /senators are provided with offices, secretaries, all facilities - what do they need expenses for?

They 'need' expenses to work on getting re-elected - but that should be their cost not the taxpayers.

That they get taxfree 'turning up' money officially for travel is a scandal. it is salary under another name but unlike salary it is not taxed.
 

Keith-M

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Give them a Per Diem for every day that they are in Leinster House. One rate for people who are elected for a Dublin constituency, one for those elected outside Dublin and get rid of the glorified talking shop that is the Seanad.
 

Solution

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Expenses should be banned. Lower their salary by 50% also. Introduce real punishments for those found to be abusing the system and then we will be fine.
 

laidback

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Give them a Per Diem for every day that they are in Leinster House. One rate for people who are elected for a Dublin constituency, one for those elected outside Dublin and get rid of the glorified talking shop that is the Seanad.
Why give Dublin members anything?

'Ordinary' workers pay their own travel costs to work and lunch money out of normally MUCH lower salaries than those enjoyed by our politicians.


Vouched travel expenses (public transport if available) for non Dublin members and an obligation to claim your OAP travel pass.
 

hiding behind a poster

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Give them a Per Diem for every day that they are in Leinster House. One rate for people who are elected for a Dublin constituency, one for those elected outside Dublin and get rid of the glorified talking shop that is the Seanad.
Why only two rates? Does it cost the same for a Kildare TD to get to Dublin as a Kerry one?
 

hiding behind a poster

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Expenses should be banned. Lower their salary by 50% also.
All that will lead to is politics becoming dominated by the very rich, who can afford to subsidise themselves, and those prepared to accept corrupt donations. Do we want that?
 

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All that will lead to is politics becoming dominated by the very rich, who can afford to subsidise themselves, and those prepared to accept corrupt donations. Do we want that?
Errr, thats what we have now. This nonsense about the idea "we have to pay them well to stop them from being corrupted" is grade 1 bullsh*t. Proper punishment for those who are corrupt and ride the system is whats needed.
 

Red_93

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All that will lead to is politics becoming dominated by the very rich, who can afford to subsidise themselves, and those prepared to accept corrupt donations. Do we want that?
The whole expenses and wages thing started out as a very pro-democracy thing. For example, in Britain, MPs were always very wealthy no poor person could afford the travel and to be away from their work for so long. Conservatives were always big landowners, Liberals were always factory owners. That all changed with the rise of labour. Originally they had to be sponsored by unions because they were mostly just ordinary workers, and when they finally got into office they introduced expenses and wages.
 

hiding behind a poster

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Errr, thats what we have now. This nonsense about the idea "we have to pay them well to stop them from being corrupted" is grade 1 bullsh*t. Proper punishment for those who are corrupt and ride the system is whats needed.
No, that's not what we have now. Look around this site and you'll see complaints about how ridiculously under-qualified many TDs are - former teachers, farmers, etc. Its ridiculous to say that only the rich enter politics in this country, as very few TDs are independently wealthy before they enter the Dail.
 

hiding behind a poster

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The whole expenses and wages thing started out as a very pro-democracy thing. For example, in Britain, MPs were always very wealthy no poor person could afford the travel and to be away from their work for so long. Conservatives were always big landowners, Liberals were always factory owners. That all changed with the rise of labour. Originally they had to be sponsored by unions because they were mostly just ordinary workers, and when they finally got into office they introduced expenses and wages.
Correct.
 

hiding behind a poster

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The more complex you make the system the more likely it is to be abused.
Why? How can you abuse a system where the distance from your house to the Dail is the determining factor as to what rate you claim? Fact is that it'd be unfair to allow a TD with 200 miles to travel to get to the Dail only claim the same amount as a TD with 40 miles to travel.
 

Maximus Cynicus

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Lads, are ye crazy or something? How are we going to get "GOOD" people to go into politics if there is no prospect of creaming it with tax-free expenses? Or long summer holidays? Or being able to vote not to work when you want? Or being able to inherit your da's seat?

C'mon, we won't continue to get the best of the best if we start insisting on trivialities like vouched expenses or clocking in
 

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No, that's not what we have now. Look around this site and you'll see complaints about how ridiculously under-qualified many TDs are - former teachers, farmers, etc. Its ridiculous to say that only the rich enter politics in this country, as very few TDs are independently wealthy before they enter the Dail.
They are certainly rich when they leave the Dail.
 

hiding behind a poster

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They are certainly rich when they leave the Dail.
You're missing my point. If being a TD isn't well-paid, then the only people who'll go for the job are either the very rich, who can afford to subsidise themselves in return for the power, and the very poor, who'll be outspent in trying to get elected by the very rich anyway. So you won't have a Dail that represents any kind of cross-section of society - which, contrary to popular belief, the Dail generally does.

Furthermore, are they really "very rich" when they leave the Dail? Ministers probably are, but while the rest are well-paid, they have mortgages, car loans, childcare bills, etc, just like the rest of us. Then there's the cost, within your constituency, of just being a TD. You're expected to buy tickets for EVERY draw that EVERY sports club, voluntary group and society in your constituency holds (and I'm not talking €2 tickets in the pub, I mean tickets costing often €100 and more), you'll be expected to buy an ad in every programme for every event in every corner of your constituency, and woe-betide you if you turn down even one request - your name will be mud. Then there's even the cost of looking after your own volunteers - drinks afterwards for your gang of leaflet-droppers and canvassers are expected and paid for - and with 15 or 20 leaflet droppers even once a week, the cost mounts up quickly enough. As for at election time, a TD will be doing the same thing seven days a week, on a much bigger scale. Then there's the hours - sure, the Dail doesn't sit as much as it should, but as a TD you're public property 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You'll get phone calls all hours of the day and night, seven days a week, from constituents, with queries ranging from the essential to the banal to the utterly ridiculous. TDs get rung in the early hours of the morning by constituents giving out about teenagers making noise on the street, FFS! Charlie McCreevy tells a story of his phone ringing on Christmas Day, just as he was sitting down to dinner. It was a constituent, telling him that a pipe had burst on his road, and could Charlie do anything about it. Charlie said he'd ring the Fire Brigade, but felt emboldened enough to ask the constituent why he hadn't tried that himself. The answer "Oh I couldn't do that, Charlie - sure its Christmas Day!". But woe betide any TD who ignores this kinda stuff, or tells a constituent who to ring instead - their name will be mud in no time.

Now obviously I'm not saying the State should pay for any of that - of course it shouldn't. But the fact is that every TDs money and time disappears that way every day of the week, every week of the year, so to suggest that their salary is just being salted away, making them rich, isn't really the case. Now I happen to be in a fairly well-paid job, but as I've often said to my local TD "I wouldn't do your job for twice the money".
 
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Solution

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You're missing my point. If being a TD isn't well-paid, then the only people who'll go for the job are either the very rich, who can afford to subsidise themselves in return for the power, and the very poor, who'll be outspent in trying to get elected by the very rich anyway. So you won't have a Dail that represents any kind of cross-section of society - which, contrary to popular belief, the Dail generally does.

You say the Dail represents a cross section? How many TD's come from lower socio economic communities? Compare the number to how many come from political dynasty families.

Pay them €100,000 a year, no expenses. For a bed for the night on the odd time they are in Dail, why dont we buy 100 apartments now that they are socheap? The TD's from outside the greater Dublin area can stay there, and seeing as these apartment have a long term economic value then the state wins.
 


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