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No tolerance for ethical pygmies

Sir -- The decision by Michael Healy-Rae to pay the cost of the premium-rate phone calls which were made in Leinster House in support of Mr Healy-Rae's appearance on Celebrities Go Wild, is to be welcomed. However, it should not be an end to the issue. The 3,636 calls claimed to have been made cost taxpayer €2,600. The fact that money was raised for charities on the reality TV show should not excuse in any way the unethical, if not illegal, use of scarce taxpayers' money. Yet again the selfish, squalid, sordid and sleazy behaviour of some members of the Oireachtas has brought further shame and disgrace on our legislature

When the Dail Committee on Procedure and Privileges scrutinise this matter, perhaps is might ascertain why it took four years to be made public. The matter first came to light in 2007 when Eircom, the Oireachtas phone service provider, noted a surge in premium-rate calls from Leinster House and brought it to attention. Is it any wonder that this country was driven on to the rocks and well and truly holed below the waterline when some of those elected to steer us through the economic maelstrom gathering in 2007 were otherwise engaged in Beano-standard superficial phone-in game shows?

We have tolerated for far too long in this country, politics without principles, conscience, character and morality. The so-called political giants in Leinster House have turned out to be ethical pygmies.

Tom Cooper,

Knocklyon, Dublin 16

Sunday Independent