In the course of looking into the detail behind this I changed my mind about who it causes difficulty for. At first glance it would appear that Beverley Flynn TD is in difficulty after Taoiseach Brian Cowen told RTÉ that
“I’ll give the opportunity for Deputy Flynn to talk to me about it and we’ll have a discussion about it and we’ll end up with whatever is appropriate being done will be done”
“It” being the more than 40,000 annual tax-free allowance for Independent TDs. Deputy Flynn is now back within the Fianna Fáil fold after being elected as an Independent. And some reports interpreted Brian Cowen’s comments to mean “Cowen to confront Flynn over 41,000 extra payout”. But, as the Irish Times report notes, she has in the past also been denied the allowance when actually an Independent TD.
When Ms Flynn was expelled from Fianna Fáil in 2004 after her failed RTÉ libel case, she was not entitled to the allowance because she had been elected as a Fianna Fáil party TD. She told Midwest Radio: “Prior to the last election I was elected as a Fianna Fáil TD. I found myself outside Fianna Fáil after the first year and spent the following four years as an Independent. “In that particular case I did not receive the Independent allowance despite the fact that I did not have the support of the party structure and had the additional expenses that all Independent deputies have.”
If the “technicalities” of the legislation were used to prevent her claiming the Independent TDs allowance in the past they can also be used to allow her to claim it now. Surely that would be “appropriate”?