Saturday 22 October 2016

A well resourced TD such as Murphy should pay his own way

Published 07/05/2016 | 02:30

Paul Murphy speaking at a protest outside the Dáil Photo: Justin Farrelly
Paul Murphy speaking at a protest outside the Dáil Photo: Justin Farrelly

Paul Murphy TD brushes off the political and public reaction to his grant of free legal aid as being no more than "cheap" and "unfounded" allegations.

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In addition to his annual salary of €87,258, Deputy Murphy is eligible to receive a tax-free Travel and Accommodation Allowance of €9,000; a Constituency Office Establishment Allowance of €8,000 and a tax-free Mobile Phone Equipment Allowance of €750 every 18 months.

He also qualifies for the payment of an annual tax-free parliamentary allowance of €41,152, equivalent to €205,760 over a full parliamentary term. Non-party TDs are not compelled to account for the spending of their parliamentary allowance, so the Standards in Public Office Commission is not in a position to report how these allowances are spent.

Against this background, for many it will seem hard to believe that Deputy Murphy is not in a position pay his own legal costs to the same extent as any other abundantly resourced and lightly taxed citizen. Deputy Murphy, in his facile defence of his free legal aid, is therefore not seeing this matter from the perspective of less privileged citizens who are not mollycoddled by the State, or burdened taxpayers, or those whose dependence on the State's beneficence is more compelling and justifiable than Deputy Murphy's hollow claim for free legal aid.

Myles Duffy, Glenageary, Co Dublin

Benefits of 'Croke Park hours'

The so-called 'Croke Park hours' are crucial for the continued professionalisation of the teaching profession - as they allow time when all teachers are free from classroom duties but are present on the school premises to collaborate with each other.

The 'Croke Park hours' facilitate planning and teacher interaction on critical aspects of school life such as curriculum co-ordination, the development of high-quality teaching and learning, various school policies and overall school development, etc.

While many of these practices were taking place in schools without the Croke Park hours, they often depended on the goodwill of teachers.

Joseph Mackey, Glasson, Co Westmeath

Have no truck with Lowry

Given that Enda Kenny's initial refusal - in early February - to rule out accepting support from Michael Lowry in forming a government may have been a significant factor in Fine Gael's very poor General Election result, I am baffled as to how smoothly the latter has been included in the proposed minority government arrangement.

Deputy Lowry is perfectly entitled to volunteer his support, but the Fine Gael party is morally obliged to reject it given the specific commitments made on this issue by the Fine Gael leadership before the recent election.

While entering into agreements with Fianna Fáil or other Independents may be at odds with the rhetoric of the General Election campaign, it continues to be unacceptable that someone like Michael Lowry could be in a position of influence over our government when he has brought Irish politics and public life into disrepute.

Fine Gael must guarantee that it will not enter into any negotiations with Michael Lowry during the lifetime of this government.

PJ O'Meara, Co Tipperary

The side-effects of progress

I wholeheartedly agree with Padraic Neary (Irish Independent Letters, April 27), not only in his praise of the late great journalist James Downey, but also for - once again - pointing out where modern technology in very many cases is taking us down the road to disaster.

Whenever an employer anywhere in the world mentions the word productivity, what it really means is how to get it done for less, by fewer workers, and in return to increase their profits.

The workers who are thrown on the scrapheap will of course be offered retraining - which in plain English means being unlikely to ever be gainfully employed again.

After lengthy means testing they might get a hand-out from the State called social welfare, which, in a short time, will leave male or female with a sense of uselessness and nothing to look forward to in the foreseeable future.

Is this what we call progress?

Or will our government tell us they have a plan.

Fred Molloy, Dublin 15

The slow march of history

Ireland 1916: striving to form a government. Ireland 2016: struggling to form a government. Is this some type of commemoration?

Eve Parnell, Dublin 8

A bigger shock than the Foxes

I see that Mike Geraghty (Irish Independent Letters, May 5) claimed that Leicester City winning the Premier League at odds of 5,000-1 is the biggest shock in the history of sport. Not even near.

The greatest sporting shock ever was Eric Cantona's kung fu kick at Selhurst Park on January 25, 1995.

Love him or loathe him, Cantona was a legend.

Damien Carroll, Kingswood, Dublin 24

Kerry's unique climate

I'd love to spend an afternoon in the Healy-Rae bar in Kilgarvan gazing out the window and, weather permitting, watching the sun moving around the earth.

Brian Ahern, Clonsilla, Dublin 15

Epistolary economies

I was delighted to meet a fellow letter-writer recently whose letters, published over the years, I always found to be excellent, and wondered what their secret might be.

The answer given was also excellent. "Only write when you have something to say."

I have decided to try to take this excellent advice.

Brian Mc Devitt, Glenties, Co Donegal

Irish Independent

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