Saturday, August 28, 2010

Political Funding and more expenses

It is all very well and good to talk about limiting registered contributions by companies and individuals to political parties but there is a reason the old parties agreed to this system.

Now the Irish tax payer is to fund political parties on the basis of how well they did in the last election, that makes it a lot harder for new, small parties and to a lesser extent sitting independents.

Bear in mind that Beverley Flynn had to be forced to give up her independents allowance despite rejoining the FF party.

I have seen Amhran Nua ideas being lifted by FF, FG and Labour, so not only do they have a lack of new ideas, they also have an unfair advantage in funding - and it is money and media exposure that win most elections.

Why should the tax payer fund a political party, particularly when one would have profound disagreement with what they stand for, e.g. FF's NAMA support, as well as problems with FG and SF policies

That is creating a further democratic deficit, copper fastening the bottom planks of the established caste and crew on the ship of state from the people whom they are meant to serve.

They really do not want change on this Island, and unless people vote for alternative, protest, parties - there is the probability that the caste will ride out this squall

Political parties received a total of €13,603,264 in state funding for 2009, according to figures released today by the Standards Commission.

The money was paid to the parties under the Electoral Acts and under the Party Leaders Allowance legislation.

Five parties (Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Féin and the Green Party) received funding of €5,438,385 under the Electoral Acts and those five parties along with the Progressive Democrats received €8,164,879 under the Party Leaders Allowance legislation.
The funding is not subject to income tax and may not be used for electoral or referendum purposes.
The level of funding is linked to pay increases in the civil service; however, the legislation which governs the funding is silent on pay decreases.
Qualified political parties must furnish to the Standards Commission Statements of Expenditure of the funding received.

Non-party members of Dáil and Seanad Éireann also receive funding under the Party Leaders Allowance legislation.
The amount payable to each non-party member of Dáil Éireann during 2009 was €41,152 and the amount payable to each non-party member of Seanad Éireann during the same period was €23,383.

The total paid to non-party members was €306,000. Non-party members are not required, however, to provide a Statement of Expenditure of the allowance to the Standards Commission, or to any other authority.

The Healy Rae Clan have done quite well out of expenses. The Healy Rae brothers are defending one hundred thousand euro in expenses they claimed from Kerry County council.
An Irish Independent investigation reveals Danny and Michael Healy-Rae, were paid a total of €196,000 for 2008/2009.
In the meantime TD Dad Jackie Healy Rae claims he does not have a travel pass.
This is despite the fact that Deputy Healy Rae is entitled to apply for a free pass for public transport as he is over the age of 66.
Everyone aged 66 and over living permanently in Ireland, is entitled to the free travel scheme.
Deputy Healy Rae travels to Dublin on average once a week while the Dáil sits, incurring a fee of up to 72 euro per return train journey.
Deputy Healy Rae is then claim's expenses for these journeys.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ivor Calley

Ivor Calley has been caught out on expenses, and yet he still clings on to the senate seat gifted to him by none other than Bertie Ahearn.
The only apt quote I can think of is from Oliver Cromwell
"You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go! "
Not only has he caused himself grief, he has also given Paul Gogarty a chance to give himself a bit of positive veneer work to save his skin, even though he continues to prop up the Fianna Fail party.
Dan Boyle of the Green Party, another Senate Apointee, called on Ivor Calley to resign from the Seánad.
One unelected Senator calls for another unelected Taoiseach nominee to resign
Another person jumping on the bandwagon is Fianna Fail TD Mary O'Rourke who said the controversial Senator should step down from the Seanad and stop looking for a way out of his problems.
Funny how Boyle, Gogarty and O'Rourke jump on the easy target while totally silent on the by-elections.

This follows his resignation from Fianna Fail following a Seanad Committee investigation into his expenses claims.

The Committee found him guilty of "conduct unbecoming".
There are others who sould be examined as to their expenses, Beverly Flynn in particular. RTE has failed in this regad, but at least TG4 had the guts to start looking into things.

The corruption allegations in the Calley case also draw attention away from the far more serious cuts in public services, NAMA and the fact that the people of Donegal South West do not have proper representation.
Calley is just one example of a corrupted and broken system.
Another quote from Vince Cable MP worth mentioning is that "Sometimes the best thing a government can do is simply get out of the way" i.e. let the Gardai look into fraud and corruption - like falsified reciepts

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The stroke shafts the shower

Despite his closeness to Mary Hanafin, the Stroke has struck FF in recent times. In what was called a gentlemans agreement, it was arranged to 'divvy up' the chairmanship of various comittees on Galway County Council.

There are 5 Strategic Policy Committees (SPC's). The chairpersons position is worth more than 5000 Euro per annum.

FG and independents elected chairpersons to three, FF and former FF member Stroke cut a deal to secure one chairpersons position.

For continuity it is normal for a chairperson to remain in situ for 3 years, and normally forthe full 5 year term.
But the deal was they would rotate the position between them, share the spoils so to speak.
The handover over of power, but Stokes renaged on the deal.
Of course, as it seems in every public position on this Island there is no legal mechanism in place to remove a chairperson from their position, and Fahy was reported to have said that "there's nothing in writing"
"Im not in the Fianna Fail party...I did'nt go running after them , they came after me to vote.
They said I should give after a year - but I'm not giving it up now"

His reasoning was that it is Dept of Environment and Local Government guidelines that the chairperson should remain at least two and a half years.
Who knows, maybe Michael is considering joining the Green party - if they can put up with GoGo maybe Stroke might be a change for the better.

He is also miffed that in his 32 years in the Council FF have never nominated him to the positon of Mayor of County Galway.

The FF Councillors are said to be furious , but had to admit they left themselves in a position where the Stroke could shaft, and not share.

 The fact that Stroke was FF for the majority of his political life, and is closley associated with the Hanafin dynasty makes one wonder how foolsh were the FF councillors to put themselves in such a position where they could get shafted.

Not just FF, but I think nearly all councilors agreed to a request by Fahy, who was serving his sentence at Castlerea Prison, to accept that his absence from meetings of the local authority was ‘due to illness and his attendance in Dublin’ even though he was in Jail for the period.

Under current legislation, a councillor is deemed to have resigned if they are absent from meetings of the local authority for a continuous period of six months.

However, there is provision in the of Local Government Act 2001 for the local authority to take into account if a councillor has been ill, or has missed meeting ‘in good faith for another reason’.

Councillors can pass a resolution allowing an absent colleague up to 18 months before the councillor is deemed to have resigned.

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