TD 'Ming' to give half his salary for local projects
NEW Independent TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan is going to use half his wages to fund projects in his constituency, rather than giving it back to the taxpayer.
Mr Flanagan -- a pro-cannabis campaigner who still smokes marijuana -- said he was giving up half his TD's salary of around €93,000.
But he will not be handing it back to the State because he says it would only be pumped into the banks. Instead, he wants to use it for "recreational facilities" in his Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency. The move is sure to boost his re-election chances.
"If this country was being ran in such a way that all that money wasn't fired into Anglo-Irish Bank ... I would be delighted for it to go back directly to the State," he said.
Mr Flanagan also said he still believed strongly that cannabis should be legalised.
He said: "I feel very strongly about the fact that every year anything up to €600m goes into the hands of the type of people who shot Veronica Guerin.
"I would prefer that money to go into the legitimate taxed economy and to be spent on swimming pools and recreational facilities for young people.
"We've tried to impose this law for three decades. That law has failed miserably and when you keep banging your head against a brick wall and it doesn't fall, you should stop doing it.
"We have two options here -- we leave it in the hands of the criminals or we bring it into the legitimate taxed economy."