Politicians holidays - Tough at the top


I wonder am I alone in thinking, when presented with a collective picture of career politicians smiling on the steps of the Dail, that the elected members of that house might have difficulty finding their arse with both hands. It is little wonder that the grinning gombeens are smiling like a cats after a bowl of cream. The facts around what our politicians get paid and what they do for that money is a reason for them to grin and us to grimace.

This year alone, and it’s not over yet, there have been four, that’s right four pay rises, bringing the basic salary of a TD who has been sitting on their arse for 10 years in the Dáil up to €96,560. On top of this you can add the ‘special allowances and expenses’, whatever they are for.

I would guess that this means they can charge for all their trips up and down to Dublin so that they can keep in touch with the people who voted for them. What we have to be asking ourselves is when did we get four pay rises in a single year? I think I speak for most for our readers when I say never. Of course if your name is Bertie Ahern, or one of his cronies in the cabinet, then you got six pay rises in 2006. (I do not think him a regular reader of this publication). His highness Ahern now earns over a quarter of a million euros a year, before he collects his expenses. Pay for the sitters in the Dail has gone up by €50,000 in the last six years.

Hands up who likes a holiday. Sure we all do, I hear you say, as I see a sea of hands out there. We do, but none more so than our elected representatives. There is nothing quite like a 13/14 week break in the middle of the year to chill out and take your mind off things.

Listen to what Liz O’Donnell likes to get up to on her holidays. “You can laugh and cry and talk about old times - that’s what I like - drinking wine and staying up all night roaring laughing. Oh, and dancing in the moonlight. I like my dancing - that’s part of my holidays, too“. Well, Liz can dance all summer long in France because there is nothing happening on the shop floor of parliamentary politics.

The latest bullshit emanating from the spin doctors is that there are a lot of committee meetings during the summer. No boys – the facts would indicate that of the 14 existing committees none met more than six times during the summer. Tough work those meetings during this hot summer, I hope the rooms were air conditioned.

So, our politicians get to have the summer off, all of them are on at least three times the average industrial wage, and for that they appear to do little except claim expenses and work towards getting re-elected. It is staggering for two reasons, one is that they can get away with it, and secondly that we let them.

When you are getting up at seven o’clock in the morning to go to work, be comforted by the thought that Liz O’Donnell has been up all night dancing in the moonlight swigging out of a bottle of wine, somewhere in France.

From Workers Solidarity 93, Sept/Oct 2006

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