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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Junket John must go


Recent revelations surrounding the lavish spending habits of Ceann Comhairle John O’ Donoghue are an example of the same cavalier attitude to the spending of public money that became all-pervasive during the Celtic Tiger years. It is an area that I have highlighted time and again and have consistently called for change. A culture of unaccountability and a sense of entitlement prevailed and has not passed with the death of the Celtic Tiger. It must come to an end.

This culture is not confined to John O’Donoghue. The lavish expenses enjoyed by TD’s and Senators are obscene. Our local Oireachtas members between them have drawn down hundreds of thousands of Euro since the last General Election. Those at the top in some state and semi-state bodies are equally as culpable. I am sure what happened at FÁS is only the thin end of the wedge. The un-vouched nature of some expenses to councillors must also be tackled.

While being rightly outraged about recent revelations we must keep a sense of perspective. Reasonable expenses and travelling is required by elected representatives and others in public life. The key here is accountability, transparency and proportionality. All of the political parties must sit around the table and thrash out new guidelines for the spending of public money. However the cavalier attitude of John O’Donoghue has made his position as Ceann Comhairle untenable and he must resign.

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