“the party had retained his allowance..”

So despite not being able to claim the Independent TD’s allowance when actually an Independent TD, and despite other TDs continuing to claim it in a similar situation, Beverley Flynn is to write to the Oireachtas asking that the allowance be withdrawn after speaking to Taoiseach Brian Cowen. Good witch hunt work everyone.. Now perhaps we can get to work on a campaign to allow Joe Behan to claim the same allowance.. or maybe get Fianna Fáil to return the part of the funding they receive for having his name on their list of TDs?

Joe Behan TD, who resigned from Fianna Fáil to become an Independent, said yesterday the party had retained his allowance.

Adds At least Éamon Ó Cuív recognises the absurdity of the situation, and the way the current legislation punishes a TD who resigns from a political party.

The Minister also said the legislation should be examined: “It does seem farcical that somebody who gets elected as a party politician, even if they were to leave the party the following day, would not have the support of the party and not get the Independent’s allowance, and vice versa, and I think that’s an issue that has to be considered.”

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  • Rory Carr

    I don’t really see why an allowance that is available to independent TD’s individually that is equivalent to the allowance given to a party for each of its elected TD’s should then become available to one who has resigned from a party.

    A politician offers himself to his electorate on a manifesto and it is presumed that it is the manifesto which voters are actually declaring for. They are not declaring their admiration for the candidate’s baby-blue eyes and winsome smile (although these may or may not be considerations capable of exercising influence upon the individual voter).

    If a TD, elected on a party manifesto finds that he can no longer support that manifesto then he would of course resign the party whip but there is no reason why his disloyalty to his party and more importantly, to his constituents, should be rewarded nor why his party should be penalised for that abandonment.

    Let him do the honorable thing and resign his seat and re-offer himself to his voters on his new manifesto and, if elected, he would certainly then be entitled to the allowance as is any other TD who stood as an independent and won the favour of the electorate.

  • Pete Baker

    Rory

    That’s certainly how the political parties would prefer everyone to view the democratic process.

    But you are actually voting for an individual to represent you – not pledging allegiance to a party. The individual elected has the mandate for their subsequent decisions.

    As far as I’m concerned, the more Independents there are, ie outside the party machine, the better.

    But the reverse to your initial point is – why should a political party continue to benefit from receiving the allowance of an elected representative who has subsequently decided that the party no longer deserves their allegiance?

  • kensei

    Pete

    But you are actually voting for an individual to represent you

    In theory. In practice people tend to vote for a party because while you are voting for the legislature you are probably most concerned with who the Executive is going to be. More independents is both basically wishful thinking and probably ineffective. What is required is a strengthening of the legislature and probably a greater separation between executive and legislature. That goes for both UK and the Republic.

    However, I don’t think Rory’s suggestion really works effectively with a PR system. The TD could have got in on the last count, and be likely to repeat that performance in a full election, but have no hope in a one seat single election.

  • Rory Carr

    Pete is of course quite correct in saying that “…you are actually voting for an individual to represent you” yet it remains that the representative elected went before the electorate standing behind a particular manifesto pledge and if he belongs to a party, he would have also represented himself to them as offering loyalty to that party’s involvement in the parliament. If he is no longer able to support the manifesto or the party he should represent himself and his new found views to the electorate.

    I am not so naive however as to really expect such integrity within the political process, and not only where PR applies as Kensei suggests though I take his point. However, I cannot bring myself to weep if such a person finds himself later shafted by his former comrades after he has shafted them. So to speak.

    Again if the system is to changed, it ought only be changed after such change has been offered to the electorate at large and ratified by them. When you think about it it is absolute madness that public representatives are able to make the decisions on their own salaries and expense allowances without any input whatsoever from their employers – the general public. Workers would be most content to have no management control over the annual pay review that was theirs alone to determine and I suppose that even senior executives and board members of companies would be pleased to dispense with any oversight from shareholders.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “At least Éamon Ó Cuív recognises the absurdity of the situation”

    Not something one often hears in the same sentence. No doubt Nevin and his colleagues in Cape Clear will agrre with me….

  • Gregory

    “But you are actually voting for an individual to represent you – not pledging allegiance to a party. ”

    If you don’t vote for a person you are voting for a list, one may as well vote the country in as a block, with a machine that holes all the FF or FGs like in the USA.

    Gregory