TD attacks media for 'distorting truth' over expenses
A FORMER government minister launched a blistering attack on the media after details of his expenses were published at the weekend.
Fianna Fail TD for East Galway Noel Treacy emerged as the Dail's top claimant for expenses and allowances, totalling €95,233 for the 12 months up to December.
This comprised expenses of €85,217 and an allowance of €10,016 as Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
But yesterday he accused national media organisations of consistently distorting the reality of the situation with regard to expenses paid to Oireachtas members and said they were inciting public anger against them.
He claimed that media covering the Oireachtas were provided with a range of free facilities in Leinster House. He also pointed out that there were more media personnel accredited to Leinster House than TDs.
Details of the expenses and allowances were made available to the 'Sunday Independent' under the Freedom of Information Act.
In total, TDs claimed a total of €7,825,467 last year, compared to €7,792,970 in the previous 12 months.
This is despite a reduction in the allowances and mileage rates in response to the country's financial crisis, as announced by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.
Mr Treacy attacked what he termed "total distortion" of the figures. "In fact, 45-50pc of all those expenses are to do with staff salaries and remuneration. In my case, there's a chairman's allowance (€10,016) which is taxed at the full rate -- the highest tax rate.
"That leaves €85,217 and out of that comes €35,000 for staff salaries. It's a total distortion -- and we have this consistently -- that TDs are getting these expenses, which are not paid to us at all.
"It's a distortion of the whole democratic process and it's a constant incitement to public anger against politicians, which is totally unfair," he added.