Want value for expenses? Invite a scientist

LIKE most people, I am annoyed by the expenses claimed by our public representatives.

I have looked into claims made by some of our leading scientists and compared these with claims made by the politicians.

I give one example of claims where comparisons can be compared.

A year ago Defence Minister Willie O’Dea and Tánaiste Mary Coughlan travelled to Texas to meet with Michael Dell in connection with the decision by Dell to move its manufacturing base from Limerick to Poland.

There is no indication that Mr Dell’s decision was altered by a visit that cost the State about €160,000. At the same time a distinguished Irish scientist was invited to give a keynote address at a major conference in the same state. His presentation was widely acclaimed, and his expenses claim was €600.

Many of our leading scientists areinvited each year to present keynote addresses at major international conferences. Invariably their expenses claims are very modest while their performances bring credit to the nation.

Our politicians should realise it is not their mode or the class of travel, or their hotel accommodation, that impresses.

They are judged by their quality of mind, their abilities to address the matter for discussion or bargaining with a clarity that indicates how well they are abreast of all aspects of the relevant subject matter, that they do not interrupt in the manner that is characteristic of our politicians in media interviews, and that they respond with clarity to questions posed.

Our scientists have the abilities that cause them to give expert renditions. Do our politicians have the abilities to deliver what is required?

There is little of late to indicate that they have.

Michael Hayes



Co Clare

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Saturday, September 18, 2021

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