When I saw this thread title the thought occurred to me that all the main parties in Ireland are in fact representing the same constituency- the civil and public service. That is because of the patronage system in Ireland which every party prolongs whenever it gets a sniff of power.
It is simple mathematics- there are one in five adults in Ireland working as a civil or public servant which is a gross overstaffing in the first place.
It is also one of the single largest voting blocs in the country. Hence the Croke Park Agreement for which not only is there no legitimate economic reason to exist other than keeping the worst cuts in living standards away from the patronage constituency but in fact exists in opposition to the analysis run by the Financial experts within the European Union which identified in its own report into the bubble in Ireland the gross overpaying of civil and public servants by way of ludicrously overblown benchmarking year after year.
It is no accident that all the political parties in Ireland are signed up to protecting that rump of the patronage system in Ireland.
The political parties in Ireland revolve around that tribe like planets around a sun. Nothing will change in Ireland until that relationship is smashed.
Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.
While he hasn't broken the letter of the regulations Doherty is, by his own admission, in breach of the spirit. TDs are allowed monies for their travel and accommodation on an unvouched basis. The amounts they can claim depend on their distance from Leinster House. They are supposed to return that portion of their Travel and Accommodation allowance that they don't use for travel and accommodation.
Doherty has claimed that he uses €8k of 'unused' expenses to pay a party worker but that's not the purpose for which he was paid the allowance. So while he is technically entitled to draw down the full amount there is a question over the ethics of doing so when he says he doesn't need it.
So how would a politician or party that wanted to break with the cute-hoor politics of the past deal with this? Firstly they would refund that portion of the TA allowance that wasn't used for TA and secondly, if they believed that TDs needed additional supports to do their job they would seek to have the Dail vote through legislation to make it possible.
As I said about his referendum commission challenge, Doherty is sometimes too clever by half.
What this business might do though is get other TDs to thinking about why they should hand back unused expenses when they could be spending it on party hacks to get themselves re-elected.
Press release on Travel Allowance:
http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/...e-8687-en.htmlClarification on the Payment of the Parliamentary Standard Allowance
The Houses of the Oireachtas Service (the Service) has (today) Wednesday, 4th July received legal advice on the Travel and Accommodation Allowance.
The advice received reaffirms the view, as previously stated by the Service, that the specific travel aspects of this allowance are intended to support TDs in travel to and from Leinster House and their normal place of residence/constituency only. Furthermore, for the purposes of the Act creating the Parliamentary Standard Allowance (the Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act, 2009), of which the Travel and Accommodation Allowances is a composite part, the only specific travel allowances which were reckonable for TDs were those incurred travelling to and from Leinster House and within their constituency.
Members are obliged to apply allowances received in the manner provided for in the legislation only. In the normal way, members are required to reconcile and recompense, as appropriate, at the end of year certification process.
The allowance system for Members of the Oireachtas, including the Regulations under which the allowances are payable, is currently subject to a review within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Joint Administration Committee of the Houses has been consulted as part of this review.
The SIPO enquiry into TDs donating part of their salary to the party is close to an end.
Sandra McLellan's Avon lady has her fingers crossed.
The SP press conference on the Daly resignation seemed to have more to say about expenses than it's ostensible purpose and it as revealed by Joe Higgins that they have 4 paid staff. Higgins referred to the staff as 'colleagues' which makes me wonder if they are party members.
Could just as easily meant work colleagues, ye of little faith.
Don't see how it matters really tbh, chances are party members would be the best qualified (up to speed with the parties politics etc).
Boyd-Barrett says his allowance for constituency travel is 'overly generous'. That didn't stop him claiming every last cent of it though.
€12,000 a year despite living just 12km from the Dail and having access to heavily subsidised public transport. Makes Reilly look frugal.
Howlin is attempting to respectively legitimise the use of constituency expenses for national campaigning.
It's a bizarre move that could see TDs in the lower band constituencies claiming unfair discrimination.
Clip of Boyd-Barrett trying to justify his James Reilly level of expenses. It's perfectly acceptable apparently, because everyone else is doing it.
He also trots out the old rubbish about only taking a third of his Dail salary. This is completely untrue. He takes his full salary but spends a substantial proportion of it on his political activities.
The other bit of cynical spin is that he's living on the AIW. Again this isn't true. The AIW is around €34k gross but Boyd-Barrett and the other TDs who claim to be living on it are all referring to the net amount. So even if we accept their claims that the money they give to their parties isn't part of their income, they're still living on the equivalent of a salary of around €50k.
Smoke and mirrors. Or should that be 'strokes' and mirrors?
Uncle Joe is trying to get back to the high ground after being badly wounded by the expenses shambles earlier this year.
The SP is letting go two party staff as a consequence of their decision to return part of the Leaders Allowance following Clare Daly's departure.
Stunt politics leads to casualties.