I find the amounts involved in paying people to be members of the Seanad to be out of kilter with the actual work required. And quite frankly, I’m more than content to subsist on the quite generous salary of some 63K per year (and that’s what it is after a number of cuts have been made to it).
I do think it is a bit rich though for some of those contesting the election with external incomes and backgrounds that will allow them to forego the salary entirely to make a grand virtue of this.
Politics is not intended to be the preserve of the rich dilettante or the ideological warrior who cares only for the all encompassing struggle, people who want to raise families and pay their mortgage need to be able to enter and serve in political office too. And let’s face it some of those standing don’t even intend doing the part time aspect of being a Senator by attending voting or most of the debates. Their intention is clearly to squeeze in the occasional vote or debate when it fits in with their schedule instead of working around the fixed schedule of the proceedings themselves. So they will in effect take no salary for doing next to no job at all.
If elected, I would seek to arrange long stay accommodation in Dublin as soon as possible and to designate that as my address for an travel expenses. I will be primarily a user of public transport and with any luck my expenses would be quite modest in this area.
I undertake to publish on this site*, a monthly account of my expenses and what they were incurred for. I believe that only fully vouched and receipted expenses that are directly related to the discharge of ones duties in being a member of the Seanad should be underwritten by the taxpayer. Just as in any normal form of employment where if you are sent from the office while at work then the office will cover the price of a cab or train or whatever you use once you produce a receipt. They’re not going to make a habit of giving you €X for dinner and let you pocket the cash while dining on some sandwiches.
* following the example of other members of Fine Gael.