Current Affairs Politics

The Politics Of Distraction

Here is another entry for my occasional “Only In Ireland” series. Following on from the slow drip of revelations that the same old cronyism is continuing for those privileged elites who make up the same old Golden Circle (FG-Lab model mark VII), some more news, via The Journal:

“ENDA KENNY HAS defended the appointment of his former advisor to a government job with a salary of €127,000.

The Taoiseach personally intervened to ensure that Ciarán Conlon received a salary €35,000 higher than the current salary cap for advisors.

In a heated exchange in the Dáil this afternoon the Taoiseach hit back at Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams who questioned why an exception had been made for Conlon.

Kenny told the Dáil that Conlon had a relevant Master’s degree and political experience which made him suitable for the position, saying that “in particular circumstances… technical expertise was required” to fulfill the role.

Conlon, who was an advisor to Enda Kenny for eight years, is now an advisor to Richard Bruton, the Minister for Jobs and Enterprise.

It emerged at the weekend that the Taoiseach had personally written an email to ask for his former advisor Ciaran Conlon to be awarded an annual salary of €127,000.”

Disgraceful, you’d think? An issue for a major media focus, you’d think? Not at all. The Irish Independent has a matter of far greater importance to fret about.

“SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams claimed over €1m in allowances and expenses for a decade while a Westminster MP — even though he never took his seat.

Figures obtained by the Irish Independent show Mr Adams claimed a raft of payments from when abstentionist MPs from Sinn Fein were allowed to claim under changes brought in 2001.

The payments are understood to be different from receipted expenses claimed. Figures obtained from parliamentary questions put down by MPs in Westminster showed that from 2001 to March 2010 he received £903,082 — or €1.05m — in payments from Her Majesty’s Treasury.

Failed presidential candidate Martin McGuinness, claimed even more — a total of €1.08m.

Mr Adams and all other Sinn Fein MPs also claimed thousands of pounds in a “staying-away-from-main-home” allowance from April 2005 onwards.

This is despite them never taking up their seats in the London parliament. Mr Adams claimed £70,331 or — €81,848 — in this allowance between April 2005 and March 2010. In the same period, Mr McGuinness claimed €84,890. Other Sinn Fein MPs claimed similar amounts, leading to a total of almost €5m over the period to March 2010.

However, Mr Adams did not receive a salary or pension from his time as an MP, a position he gave up to run for the Dail in February’s general election.

Yesterday, in the Dail, Mr Adams challenged Mr Kenny on his decision to overrule his senior ministers and sanction a €35,000 salary increase to a key ally who was starting as a government adviser.

“Deputy Adams makes the charge that it is wrong and unfair,” Mr Kenny said yesterday. “One of my responsibilities as Taoiseach is to give sanction to advisers. He was chosen as an adviser by the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation because of his particular expertise and his ability. I sanctioned that.

“The next time Deputy Adams stands up, he might be fair and might indicate that something is wrong.

“In the two-year period to the end of March, the Sinn Fein MPs claimed £969,328 in staff payments and Deputy Gerry Adams, before his election to the Dail, claimed £106,880 for his staff in a parliament he never attended.””

Oh well, that’s ok then. Nice to see An Taoiseach and the journos of yon Indo worrying about the needs of the tax payer and value for money. That would be the British tax payer, of course.

I wonder how much time some Irish civil servant or servants wasted spent researching all that information for the bold Enda? Good to see them being employed on something worthwhile.

It really is a diet of bread and circuses in this new republic of ours. Anything that distracts the masses from the truth.


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