Johnny Fallon: Young TDs should seek Dail reform before they’re seen as part of the old boys’ club
THE news of the arrest of Ivor Callely yesterday was something of a surprise. With the investigation ongoing many politicians’ eyes will be closely watching developments. It has brought to the fore, yet again, the whole subject of expenses and entitlements.
For any ordinary member of the public the system of allowances for politicians seems to be a maze of different things designed to boost income. The reality may be somewhat different but the politicians have only themselves to blame for the poor public perception. Political expenses have developed over many years. Some were introduced when salary levels were not as generous as those enjoyed today, others like mobile phone allowances were an add on to help with a changing world.
Make no mistake; being in politics is not a cheap business. The total allowances for running a constituency office would struggle in some cases to even meet the rent on the premises. Modern communications has advanced well beyond what the original phone allowances intended to cover. The system has been tweaked and changed but a complete overhaul is needed. It must be designed from scratch again.