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Our TD numbers are excessive in comparison with other countries

It is distressing to know our small, bankrupt country should have so many unnecessary positions created specially by its legislature. The constitution provides for one representative for every 20,000 to 30,000 people.

Without amending the Constitution, we could have a reduction of 16 TDs, instead of the eight proposed in the bill before the Oireachtas. The elimination of eight will not save the taxpayer much money; but the elimination of far more would relieve the situation substantially, since the basic pay of a deputy is ¤95,363, rising to ¤101,446 for long service TDs.

Then there are the perks:

(1) Daily travel to Leinster House ¤55

(2) Overnight allowances ¤126

(3) Miscellaneous expense allowance ¤5,000

(4) Constituency travel allowance: Table A ¤2,500; Table B ¤5,000; Table C ¤8,000

(5) Office accommodation allowance: (i) one-off setting up grant ¤8,000 and (ii) annual maintenance grant ¤8,000

(6) Telephone allowance ¤5,700.

But it does not stop here, as there are chairs of committees allowances and party whip allowances.

The poor attendance in the Dail is disgraceful. If foreign visitors were not aware of the traditionally scanty attendance of TDs in the Chamber, they would imagine when looking at the Dáil proceedings on TV Ireland has not more than 30 or 40 TDs!

Britain, with a population of 62m, has 650 MPs. By Irish standards there should be 2,259 MPs in the House of Commons.

Germany, with a population of 62m, the same as Britain, has a lower representation with only 622 members in the Bundestag.

According to Irish standards, the US with a population of 314m should have 11,629 members in the House of Representatives but it has only 650 members.

The Netherlands, with a population of 17m, has 150 in the chamber of deputies, by Irish standards, there should be 629 in it.

According to Irish standards, France, with a population of 66m, should have 2,444 deputies, but it has only 577 members.

When we consider a giant sized country like Canada, with a population of 35m and only 308 MPs, not 1,296 according to Irish standards, we are compelled to say that Dáil Éireann has too many TDs.

According to international standards, Ireland should have fewer than 60 TDs.

Daniel MacCarron

Westfield Park

Bray

Co Wicklow

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