Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Killeen Kock-Up

Following Tony Killeen’s recent embarrassment over the revelation that his constituency office made representations on two occasions on behalf of a convicted sex offender, it now emerges that he made representations for the early release of a murderer.

On Morning Ireland (23rd Jan), Mr Killeen once again admitted that he hadn’t seen, signed or approved the letters issued in his name.He revealed that his constituency office has issued in excess of 200,000 letters in the 14 years he‘s been a TD, 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 50,000,000 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: Aired by Pat Kenny on RTE, published as a letter in the Irish Times (they edited out final paragraph in italics). An earlier version was published in the Irish Independent.

What I find most surprising is that Killeen has been interviewed several times by RTE radio & tv but has never been challenged about the value of all this paperwork, or the cost to the state of the resources tied up in it.
Of course, RTE is far too busy pursuing the real political issues, such as baiting Pat Rabbitte with post-election “what if” scenarios.

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