Sunday 30 April 2017

Absence of leadership is the worst part of crisis

James Downey

James Downey

QUITE a few people have had a merry Christmas and a great start to the new year. I don't mean anyone who has to work for a living. I mean that extraordinarily privileged class, deputies and senators.

If you read the latest table showing the expenses each of them claims, you will have been able to work out a simple sum. Taking into account salaries after tax, and the profit made on expenses and allowances, the humblest backbencher can clear €100,000 a year, and I suspect that most of them do a lot better than that.

What do they do in return for the taxpayers' generosity? For generations now, it has been known that they carry out very little parliamentary work. The Dail and Seanad sit only occasionally. Right now they are on a 40-day break. Deputies spend their time running errands for their constituents.

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