We are constantly told by politicians that things are different now. We’re told that the (corrupt) political system has been reformed, that the system is now transparent and accountable.
The ongoing expenses scandal gives the lie to all such assertions.
There’s not even a need to make an argument on the matter, the words of the politicians themselves are sufficient to confirm that the system is still rotten to the core.
Michael D Higgins: (Labour TD)
I think it’s important that we acknowledge the new system is there and hope that people will realise that people like Ivor Callely are exceptional and allow the rest of us to address the really serious issues.
I would worry about my own sanity if I regarded it as politically important.
I do insist that presenting this exotic behaviour as anything typical would be quite irresponsible.
Clearly, Higgins does not think that alleged fraud by an Irish politician is a serious issue or politically important.
This attitude displays a disturbing ignorance of reality.
All corruption in Ireland ultimately originates from the corruption of the political system but people like Higgins have yet to even notice that fact never mind actually act against the disease.
He’s happy to wallow in ignorance and denial while blaming the media for everything.
Dr. John Doyle (DCU)
Irish politicians have very few supports in staff and other facilities compared to other EU parliaments…the broader picture is that Irish politicians are not on the gravy train compared to the Europeans and North Americans.
Lise Hand (Columnist with Irish Independent) when asked to respond to Doyle’s comments.
Just picking my jaw up off the floor here.
Mary O’Rourke (Fianna Fail TD)
Apparently he (Callely) is hunting for a get out clause. I think it’s all very nauseating and awfully bad for the body politic and it’s wrong, wrong, wrong.
This is the politician who believed Bertie Ahern’s lies were quite reasonable explanations and was/is a great admirer of the criminal Haughey.
After Haughey died O’Rourke described his long and destructive record of criminality as ‘a few bumps on the road.’
Mary Hanafin (Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism)
The answers that have come forward to date are not very clear. Senator Callely has to explain the situation to the Senate Committee.
There are certainly serious questions being asked and I believe he should be absolutely up front and clear about it.
Answers not very clear? Callely should be up front and clear. Is this the same politician who regularly stated, without embarrassment, that she believed every convoluted word from the mouth of the chancer Bertie Ahern?
The reason for this rank hypocrisy from O’Rourke and Hanafin is simple. Callely is not important; in fact he’s not even liked within Fianna Fail. He’s not a Fianna Fail mafia don so he can be discarded,
Senator Regan (Fine Gael)
I think this is an important issue, an issue of fraud by a member of this house.
Regan was told to withdraw the remark and did so immediately. Fraud by an Irish politician – the very idea?
Senator Dearey (Green Party)
Dearey was asked what should happen next (regarding Callely)
Well, you’ll appreciate I’m the newest kid on the block in there. I was appointed in the last couple of days in February so the intricacies of Oireachtas procedures are not something I would claim to be an expert on yet.
So, this politician needs to become an expert on the intricacies of Oireachtas procedures before he can give an opinion on the difference between right and wrong.
Senator Mullen (Independent) (From Galway but lives in Dublin)
On being asked what advice he received from a fellow politician in relation to claiming expenses when he first entered the Senate in 2007.
You could claim your expenses from Ahascragh (Galway) and if you’re here long enough you’ll have a house out of it.
Senator Mullen’s response to this advice:
We all deal in our own way with bad suggestions like that. You don’t necessarily give the person a lecture on ethics and propriety on the spot.
Senator Mullen is a deeply conservative Catholic who constantly lecturers Irish citizens on ethical matters.
It would appear that ethics in politics, if that’s not an oxymoron, do not feature in this Senator’s sense of morality.
Senator Butler (Fianna Fail)
Gets paid €20,000 more in travel expenses because he says he’s moved home to county Carlow although his home address is listed as Foxrock in Dublin.
Senator Doherty (Sinn Fein, Donegal)
Senator Doherty questions why Fine Gael TD Dinny McGinley, who lives in the same town land as Doherty, claims substantially more travel expenses.
McGinley claims that he was advised by security people back in the troubles to stay within the state. Fear that he might become a war casualty results in him having to take a longer route to and from Dublin.
Apparently, nobody has informed the TD that the war ended about 20 years ago.
Senator Regan (Fine Gael) who angrily accused Callely of fraud said that McGinley’s claims were a minor matter but Senator Doherty responded that they amounted to tens of thousands of Euros.
Senator Doherty believes that politicians are grossly overpaid on expenses.
It doesn’t cost me €466 to get from Donegal to Dublin. I have a car over a four year loan period. Repayments are €310 per month and I get €466 per return journey.
Senator Regan (Fine Gael) on being asked why politicians do not use public transport.
There’s an efficiency problem with that. Coming from Donegal might not work for a local TD who needs to get back to his constituency to attend particular events. Some have to go back mid week so there’s a practicality to it.
Bullshit is the only possible response to this view.
Senator O’Brolchain (Green Party)
Asked did he think people (politicians) were going by train and claiming mileage for it?
Well, I’m absolutely certain of it. I know of many instances of that, there are many instances where people are abusing the system.
Senator White (Fianna Fail) The following comments are a mixture of insult, paternalism and lies.
I’m very conscious listening to the discussion so far that the Irish public is listening out there very, very worried and probably incensed.
They’re not understanding some of the language that’s being used -vouched, unvouched etc and I think it’s very confusing.
First of all I would like to reassure the Irish people that a new regime has just being brought in. It’s a radical change over what has gone on forever as far as I’m concerned.
It is highly transparent system now and to be honest when I first came to the Senate in 2002 I was amazed at the lack of transparency and the lack of having to produce vouched receipts.
I am acutely conscious that it’s taxpayers’ money that I am being paid and accountable for every day.
But I would really like to reassure the people that we now have a highly transparent system.
This stupid politician, who, by the way wants to be President, didn’t say if she intends educating a ‘confused’ and ‘ignorant’ Irish public on the meaning of such ‘complex’ words like vouched and unvouched.
Senator Labhras O’Murchu (Fianna Fail) (Based in Tipperary)
When O’Murchu was asked about his expenses he said that when in Dublin he stays at Comthlas headquarters for about €50 per night. He claims that he uses the balance of money to pay for the rest of his daily expenses.
O’Murchu is Director General of Comthlas. Comthlas has refused to make any comment on the matter.
Jackie Healy-Rae (Fianna Fail independent)
Healy Rae admitted that up until recently he has been driving to the Dail from his Kerry constituency in the company of another Oireachtas member. He refused to name the other politician or whether both of them have claimed expenses.
When pressed on the matter he responded:
I know my own business and I won’t be declaring it to you or anybody else.
In other words this backwoodsman is telling the media and the people of Ireland to take a hike.
His ignorant and arrogant attitude is a clear indication that nothing has changed in this country and as I have said on many occasions nothing will ever change until these traitors are thrown out of public office and the entire corrupt system under which they enrich themselves is brought crashing down.