Jim McDaid TD has done us all a favour, perhaps inadvertently.
His announcement that he has returned to a full-time medical career and will not be standing for re-election next year seems to have taken everyone by surprise.
It’s clear that party colleagues, the media and his constituents had all failed to notice that he was no longer fulfilling the functions of an elected, highly paid public representative.
This raises the question as to what exactly is the value of the much vaunted “constituency work” so often cited as the self-imposed core function of our TDs. This activity is clearly motivated by self-interest, maintaining the profile of the TD and fending off potential challenges, particularly from party colleagues, come election time.
The McDaid case suggests that the absence of all this activity would have little, if any, detrimental impact on our lives.
It is clear that many areas of the public service need a radical overhaul if we’re to get value for the large sums of public money we spend on it. The Dail would be a good place to start.
Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Examiner
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