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The life of an average TD is tedious and frustrating, so no wonder the 'rock star' found it hard to take

Why did George Lee quit the Dail? Everybody in Leinster House seems to have a different theory, but perhaps we've all been asking the wrong question.

When you consider how tedious, frustrating and downright pointless the life of an average TD is, it's a wonder that so many of them stick it as long as they do.

A survey published last week by the Joint Committee on the Constitution confirmed what we all knew anyway.

In stark contrast to most of their European colleagues, most TDs spend less than half their time preparing legislation or speaking in the Dail.

The bulk of their working day is spent toiling away on constituency matters, the sort of issues that would be taken care of by councillors if we had a proper system of local government.

The Dail only sits around 100 days a year and much of what goes on there is only play-acting anyway.

Because most TDs are seen as mere lobby fodder, they end up becoming glorified social workers instead -- filling their days by going to funerals, investigating potholes and generally looking after the parish pump.

The former Labour leader Frank Cluskey had a typically pithy theory about the sort of people who show up at constituency clinics.

"A third of them want you to do something impossible. Another third want you to do something that's illegal. And the rest are only there because they're lonely!"

This is what Lee clearly failed to appreciate when he made his dramatic career move.

He was parachuted into a safe seat, without serving any time as a councillor, and then treated like a rock star on the campaign trail.

Once the gates closed behind him on Kildare St, he quickly found that the life of an opposition backbencher is about as glamorous as a root canal treatment.

Our parliamentarians are among the best paid in the world. It's about time they were given a real job to do.


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