O’Donoghue must clarify travel expense or resign…

So says Fine Gael Senator Pascal Donohoe… Well, he would, wouldn’t he… In fact, it’s a matter of public debate and possibly further investigation what his expenses add up to… My hunch is the government is unwilling to get into such a toxic debate when it’s already got Nama and the Tax Commissioners report on the front burner… Gavin, who helped reignite the story in the papers (and got 1 credit for it) notes the spin from government on the issue of expenses:

What interests me more [than crowd sourcing] though are the stories relating to clampdowns on expenses that led Irish Independent coverage on two days in one week. During 4-5 days of news surrounding John O’Donoghue, generated largely by posting the original documents online, two seperate stories were written that could be described as government spin.

I am not accussing the journalists in question of anything untoward, I am merely observing the effectiveness of government PR/propaganda. This effectiveness is demonstrated in radio interviews, such as Conor Lenihan on Radio 1 yesterday morning, where he could refer directly to these news stories as evidence that “those days are over” etc. The marrying of government spin with ministers on air attempting to justify the profilagacy of Mr O’Donoghue is fascinating to observe. The talking points alone are professionally done:

“We were richer back then”
“Those days are over, did you see that story about clampdowns on ministerial expenses?”
“The department decided on costs”
“It wasn’t the Minister’s fault”
“Ministers should stay in nice places when abroad, they are representing the country”

…among others. All of them nonsense, but all of them serving to distract from the core issues, which of course is their intention. Ministers are responsible for what they spend. They are grown adults in charge of departments, trying to blame everybody else.