Just a quick post to point out the further contempt in which Irish politicians hold their electorate.
In a brief moment of lucidity, Justice Minister Brian Lenihan decided to deal with the issue of dodgy TD expense claims by asking them to swipe a card in and out of the building.
This of course has the additional value of letting security know instantly who's in Leinster House and who isn't at any given time, which would be sort of important in a crisis, like a fire.
The response of one (sadly unnamed) TD in the Irish Independent?
"Can you imagine a member of parliament with a constitutional role having to swipe in as if he were a factory worker?"
"What if a fella comes up on a Monday night and decides to go straight to his or her hotel," continued our anonymous TD. "Is he meant to swipe his card first in the Dail?"Yes. That's the system, gobshite.
You get a card, you swipe it when you go to work and when you leave. You want to go to Dublin late on Monday night and crash out in your hotel room? Fire away. No one is stopping you. But don't expect us to pay you for going to a hotel and lying down!
It's the tone that is objectionable, the self-entitlement that oozes from every word. Scratch the surface further, and you hear of how FF members of the committee that made this recommendation to Minister Lenihan have been continually lobbied by their own party on this issue.
Bottom line is that the Leinster House mob don't want to lose their lucrative expenses and daily allowances that they can currently claim for whether they're entitled or not, because no one checks TD claims.
Earlier this year, the Sunday Mirror did. They found that Beverly Cooper-Flynn had claimed enough mileage in one year to drive the circumference of Planet Earth twice! This clearly did not actually happen, so one can only conclude that Deputy Flynn has got away with yet another lucky and undeserved payday at the taxpayer's expense.
Which is ironic, given her previous job was helping Bank of Ireland customers avoid paying tax. In different ways, Flynn has been screwing us all for years.
Or how about Bertie Ahern claiming mileage (he doesn't drive, has no licence, and as former Taoiseach already has a state Merc and driver on call 24-7) and overnight allowances (he lives in the North inner city, ffs)? Ahern's expenses claims are now about as plausible as his tax status, which continues to make no sense to anyone, least of all the Revenue Commission.
Jackie Healy-Rae also claimed thousands upon thousands of euro in mileage - yet the paper photographed him getting the train! And as a pensioner, he is entitled to travel for free anyway!
The fact is that the honour system can not be used any longer, because it is demonstrable that our TDs don't have any honour.
We need to save money - lots of money - from the state expenditure. Parliamentary remuneration has to stay top of the list. They shouldn't get to take a penny of us without hurting themselves first, because it was them and not the rest of us that scrapped banking legislation, fuelled property speculation and that blew our economy apart.
And we have to start with their expenses, the massive pay cheques they effectively sign for themselves each year without scrutiny.
Let the fuckers sign into work every day or not be paid. Let them produce receipts for everything or receive no expenses.
It's the very least they could do, and Lenihan is utterly right to demand this of them.