Madam -- I have just spent the weekend in the company of my 82-year-old mother, who is waiting for a hip operation and in pain but refuses to complain because she is aware of the state of the country -- waiting lists and cutbacks are part of life as we now know it.
However, last Sunday evening I read a article in the Sunday Independent which totally shocked and disappointed me. It was written by Tom Lyons and reported the cleaning bill for the Department of Finance and the Office of Public Works.
To those of you who have not read the article, the costings, as quoted in the article, are as follows. The Department of Finance cleaning bill for the year is over €200,000, which breaks down to €3,846 a week. The OPW cleaning bill was over €700,000 a year, which works out at €13,461 a week.
Will somebody please tell me that I misunderstood these figures. Otherwise, I will gladly take on the cleaning of these buildings myself.
Mr Howlin was quoted in your newspaper as saying that he had not realised how big the cleaning bill was until recently and had now asked the Department of Finance and the OPW to examine the costing and come back to him.
I wish to ask Mr Howlin two things. What part of paying €13,461 and €3,846 for cleaning a week needs to be examined? And why would you take the views of people who have sanctioned these payments into account?
Vulnerable children all around the country, who are being punished by this Government as they are refused the basic right of Special Needs Assistance, would immediately know that there was something very wrong here.
It really does not take that much examination, Mr Howlin.