Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Killeen Episode

The failure of political opponents to exploit Clare FF TD Tony Killeen’s recent embarrassment, over the revelation that his constituency office made representations on two occasions on behalf of a convicted sex offender, is very interesting. I’m sure that this is because many other TDs might well be similarly compromised.

In an interview on RTE radio's Morning Ireland yesterday, Killeen said "I never saw that letter, I seldom see letters" and stated that his office had "issued in excess of 22,000 letters, not counting e-mails and phone calls”.

It’s probably safe to assume that at least 50% of these letters required a response from some Government Department or Agency. If every TD was equally productive, this would mean that in excess of 5,000,000 pieces of mail have been generated, many of which are the result of the TD merely "going through the motions", but all of which consume resources which could be better utilised.

There is clearly a substantial industry involved in making delivery of public services dependent on keeping you indebted to your local TD, solely for the purpose of his/her re-election, and it’s all being paid for out of public funds.

The Killeen episode is clear proof that it’s time to end this form of political serfdom for citizens and instead provide a nationwide network of professionally staffed offices to provide proper advice and advocacy services to the public.

No further public funding should be provided for the running of constituency offices, it’s time to end this nonsense.

Footnote: an edited version published as a letter in the Irish Examiner, an updated version aired by Pat Kenny on RTE (23rd Jan) after latest twist - Killeen also made representations for early release on behalf of a murderer - but Tony himself had nothing to do with the letters!

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