Thursday 14 December 2017

TDs' expenses need urgent reform

BY now, the average Irish citizen should be beyond shock at the way in which those who purport to run the country -- politicians and senior public servants -- enriched themselves from the proceeds of the bubble economy. Even so, the generosity and cynicism of the expenses system for TDs will surely have many of their constituents staring in disbelief.

It might not have been designed to be abused, but in a sense it was. The system of attendance payments was introduced because not all TDs could be trusted to submit honest expenses for their travel and accommodation in attending Leinster House. They are not, of course, the only people who might fiddle expenses, but those who ask to represent us must be held to the highest of standards when it comes to public money.

The obvious solution to dodgy expenses claims is a strict system of examination of those claims and the accompanying receipts, with both penalties and publicity for anyone found guilty of breaking them. The mysterious affair of Ivor Callely's home showed that the Oireachtas system was not able even to identify legitimate claims.

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