Michael Brennan: Austerity certainly doesn't work for high-flying Gerry
Published 13/02/2013 | 04:00
SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams has a favourite slogan – "Austerity simply doesn't work."
But there is nothing austere about getting free business-class transatlantic flights, stays in expensive hotels and private medical treatment paid for by a wealthy supporter.
While Taoiseach Enda Kenny is flying on Aer Lingus and Ryanair, Mr Adam opts for business class on his trips.
The cost is paid for by Sinn Fein's US support group – Friends of Sinn Fein USA.
But you would never guess that Mr Adams had a "free travel pass" to the USA from his contributions in the Dail.
He loves to complain about the "dire social consequences of austerity" with households struggling to pay mortgages and bills.
Sinn Fein is insisting that Mr Adams flies business- class travel due to a medical condition, and that other party members have to fly economy class.
Mr Adams himself confirmed over the weekend that the treatment bill of up to $30,000 (€22,400) was paid by Irish American multi-millionaire Billy Flynn.
He has denied that he was a hypocrite for opposing the privatisation of the health services – yet at the same time undergo private treatment in the USA.
His explanation was that treatment he received was not available in Ireland.
But he is not going to include Mr Flynn's payment of his medical bill in his official Dail declaration of interests on the grounds that it was a personal gift.
Voters should remember the generous – and totally legitimate – travel funding available to Mr Adams the next time he starts harping on about cutbacks and austerity.