The ongoing farce of political transparency and accountability

I received the following email from the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission in response to my inquiries regarding the new, and much vaunted, system of allowances and expenses for TDs and Senators.


The new system of Members expenses, adopted by the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, has yet to be agreed by the Minister for Finance so unfortunately there are no further details of the expense system available just yet. When we have been advised further by the Department of Finance we will be happy to answer all of your submitted questions.

In relation to questions being submitted to our office in writing, the only reason that we ask queries to be submitted in this manner is for administrative ease. Usually queries with multiple parts require coordination from many different sections so if we have it in writing we can direct it by email which speeds up the process of response. In the event that citizens seeking information do not have ‘access or ability to make a written submission’ then we are more than happy to deal with their query by phone.

Hope this helps but if you need any further information please feel free to contact me here in the office.

Liam O’Brien
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Communications Unit,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2

My reply:


“This is a significant action. It represents a real break with long-standing tradition and is a clear demonstration of how members of the Oireachtas are not only transparent and accountable, but will now be seen to be to a greater degree.” John O’Donoghue, TD.

Before I lifted the phone to make inquiries I knew, from long experience, that I was wasting my time.
Could you give me an estimate, say within the timeframe of the next decade, of when citizens can expect the Minister for Finance to adopt the new system?

“To bring greater transparency and accountability to the way members of the Houses of the Oireachtas receive expenses and allowances.” John O’Donoghue, TD.

Yours sincerely
Anthony Sheridan