Leader's money is not 'trousered'
Madam -- I write to object strongly to John Drennan's article (Sunday Independent, February 5, 2012) on the so-called Leader's Allowance for Independent TDs. It was a gross misrepresentation of the facts and particularly insulting to use the word 'trouser'. First of all, this money goes into a political account and is used to pay staff wages, rent of my constituency office in Donnycarney, research and training, consulting services, Dail reports and other political related services. It is not "trousered" to my personal account, nor is it used in this way.
I have been one of the few TDs who gives a regular update of my expenses on my website. I was also one of the first TDs to take a voluntary pay cut at the very start of this crisis. I also resigned my teaching position, unlike many TDs and ministers who hold on to theirs for years. In doing this, it created a new position for a young teacher.
I had the honour of being elected three times to the Dail because of my record of hard work and honest politics. Yes, I have made mistakes but I have always tried to be fair and accountable to our people. I always welcome journalists who monitor and examine politicians and make them accountable. That is their job. But I do expect fair and balanced reporting.