Ministers Salaries and Expenses

The salaries of ministers in both governments of the 1920s were fixed at £1,500 a year, which would have the purchasing power today of around €100,000 per year. Éamon de Valera, coming to power in 1932, reduced this figure by one-third, to about €1,000 a year, which again would have the purchasing power today of around €70,000 in money terms.

With regard to Politicians expenses, here in Co Tipperary, 6 Dail deputies and 4 Senators have claimed, on top of their salaries, close to €1.2 million in allowances and expenses since the 2007 Irish General Election.

As to travelling expenses, after the civil war all ministers travelled to and from their offices using public transport, usually Dublin Trams.

Back Row: Eamon de Valera, Kevin O'Higgins and Rory O'Connor at O'Higgins' wedding in 1921. O'Higgins was later to sign O'Connor's execution order.

Back Row: Eamon de Valera, Kevin O’Higgins and Rory O’Connor at O’Higgins’ wedding in 1921. O’Higgins was later to sign and order O’Connor’s execution .

Ministerial cars, as we know them today, were not introduced until after the murder of 35 year old Irish Minister for Justice, Kevin O’Higgins, as he made his way to Mass, on Booterstown Avenue in Dublin.

This murder was undertaken by three Anti Treaty members of the IRA in 1927, namely Timothy Coughlin, Bill Gannon and Archie Doyle, who were never apprehended, (IRA Amnesty) in revenge for O’Higgins part in the executions of 77 IRA men during the civil war.

At that point, the Defence Forces insisted that senior Ministers of State travel should in future be by an Army car, guarded by an armed escort.
Today Government Ministers must have a fuel guzzling Mercedes Benz together with garda driver on call at a moments notice to ferry them around like rock stars. If security be the issue, why not use the Army again, they appear to do a great job securing our bank’s money

Present cost of keeping the Government’s  jet sitting on the ground is €4,500 per hour and this increases to €7, 100 per hour when in flight.

On Friday last the government stepped up its caointe (Irish for wailing) warning that the coming budget will be awful. Their propaganda being the expected mix of reassurance and fright delivered in the one breath before each budget. Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney has threatened us with the International Monetary Fund (IMF ) despite Brian Cowan’s claim some months ago that the IMF had no intention of interfering in our monetary affairs.

Meanwhile back at the ranch Professor Brendan Drum (HSE Chief ) has justified his 2007  €70,000 bonus, despite the fact that in 2007 Ireland was rated only 28th out of 29 countries in Europe, in relation to our health service delivery.

How our National Lottery funds have been doled out, now appears to be in question, following claims once again of political interference for political gain.

I wonder how many of our readers have actually read George Orwell’s  Animal Farm.

The pig character Napoleon and his fellow pigs also became corrupted by the absolute power they held over the farm. To maintain their popularity with the other animals, Squealer secretly painted additions to some of the communities democratic commandments to make them more beneficial to the pigs, while keeping them free of accusation of  law breaking. An example of this was the law  “No animal shall drink alcohol” later appended with the words “to excess” ). The laws are eventually completely removed, and replaced with just one law  “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others“.

To restore just a modicum of confidence in our political system these matters now need to be  promptly resolved.
The Government’s greatest failure over the past year has been its total inability to provide any inspired leadership.  This government  has still not managed to convince the public regarding the sheer scale of the major problems facing this country and continue to govern under the law that states  “Some animals are more equal than others“.

Leadership can only be shown by example, thus people in positions of wealth and power must be also fully accountable.


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