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Expenses revelations show little has changed

Every right-minded person will be disgusted by the wealth accrued by the political class since 2011, as revealed by RTÉ, and none will be surprised that the Government has not reformed this system.

Despite the coalition’s great claims in 2011, the only expenses reform was to transfer the cost of ministerial cars from a central unit to each department. So, instead of the car being leased by the Government, now the minister buys the car, is registered as the owner, and the department gets the bill for the cost and to pay the driver. There is no requirement for the department to publish that cost, as it is absorbed into the day-to-day allowance, like reception flowers or teabags.

The sucker punch for the taxpayer is that when that minister leaves office, they keep the car, but don’t pay benefit-in-kind. Also, how is it the Labour TD for Dublin South West, Eamon Maloney, has managed since 2011 without claiming any expenses, and he is no less effective than any other TD. If he can do his job without tax-free expenses, why can’t other Dublin TDs, who have no extra travel or accommodation costs, do the same?

While low standards are to be expected from mainstream parties, for all their guff about being different not one of them has had the integrity to publish receipts for the expenses they have been paid, nor audited accounts for how they funded their election campaigns, and, of course, there is not a single tax certificate in sight.

Desmond FitzGerald

Canary Wharf

London


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