April 2004 Archives

TDs Salaries & Expenses

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A TD can easily secure an income of €140,000 a year before deduction of their expenses. Assuming that the Dail sits for a hundred days a year, then the theorietical cost per TD per sitting day works out at about €1,400.  However, the real cost is a huge multiple of this as few TDs seem to spend much or any time in the Chamber. Thus, the actual cost of a TD's Dail appearance or speech could work out at several thousand euro per minute or per word.

A better way of looking at the cost of TDs is through the Oireachtas Commission's expenditure estimates. This indicates that salary, expenses and allowances will average €199,000 per TD for 2004. This is before adding in the €44,000 to be paid to TDs for their proposed personal research assistants. On this basis, the direct cost of a TD will reach a quarter of a million for the year. This takes no account of other perks - gold plated pensions, private dining, free parking etc.

How can this be justified when there is no prohibition on TDs doing nixers and consultancy work; the Dail only sits for 100 or so days a year; and TDs are diminishing the Dail's status by limiting genuine debate, restricting time for questioning and bypassing it for major announcements?

Nice Referendum & e-Voting

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The forthcoming referendum should be rejected, irrespective of any possible merits, by the electorate for two principled reasons.

Firstly, as a protest against the use of an e-voting system that fails to contain paper-based voter verification, published source code and fully tested systems.

Secondly, to object to proposals for constitutional change being pushed past the Dail and electorate over a holiday period with minimal time for reflection and debate. Instead of Green Papers on both matters we have been offered whitewash and flannel.

Letter published in the Sunday Tribune and Sunday Business Post on 25th April 2004.

Investment Double-Speak

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The Tanaiste wants to give tax cuts to Irish investors to encourage investment in local hospitals rather than in overseas property. If investment in hospitals and other infrastructual projects is so urgently needed that tax breaks and tolls are required to support it, what is the justification for the State investing over a billion euro a year of tax revenues in overseas businesses via the National Pension Reserve Fund?

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