Friday, November 19, 2010

Politicians must lead by example

The issue of politicians pay and expenses has always been a contentious one. The common perception is that all politicians are on the make and sure aren’t ye all the same. People’s attitudes have been soured by endless scandals involving un-vouched expenses, exotic foreign trips, first class travel, limo’s, merc’s and five star hotels. The corrupt few have damaged the many.

Most of the corruption has come from the top. TD’s and Senators have been creaming it for years. Massive salaries and bloated expenses were the order of the day. It was wrong in the good times and it is wrong in the bad times. It is now time for politicians to lead by example. National politicians need to take sizeable pay cuts. Sinn Féin is proposing that Ministers have their salaries cut by 40% and TD’s and Senators by 20%. The expenses system needs to be overhauled and replaced with a transparent properly vouched system.

Local public representatives must also clean up their act. The vast majority of councillors act responsibly and earn modest incomes. However others abuse the system and this must stop. All expenses drawn down by any public representative or official should be fully vouched. I was elected in 2004. Over the six years I was in a position to avail of €33,266 in conference expenses. I claimed €9,970.72 leaving behind €23,295,28. Upcoming national and local budgets are being framed as I type. Politicians need to lead by example and nothing less should do.

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