Speaking this week in the Seanad, Fine Gael Longford/ Westmeath Senator, Nicky McFadden, said the only way for faith in politicians to be restored among the public is for the “mercs and perks” culture which has thrived under Fianna Fáil to be brought to an end and for politicians to lead by example in taking the hit.
“The electorate is sick to death of reduced pay, rising unemployment and our young people being forced overseas in search of work. More to the point, it is sick of feeling like it is paying the price for the reckless management of our economy while the culture of profligate waste continues among the Government.
“People feel like politicians are completely out of touch with reality on the ground and nowhere was this borne out more than at Farmleigh a few weeks ago when a trail of Ministerial mercs rolled into the opulent surroundings.
“If politicians are to regain the trust of the people, we have to lead by example. I noted that when David Cameron took power in the UK he immediately got rid of State cars for Ministers living in the London area and we must do likewise over here.
“Fine Gael plans to abolish Ministerial cars and bring in car pooling as part of a wider package of reforms being prepared by the party. Some €10.9 million was spent on Ministerial cars over the last two year and while we are facing a budget deficit of €15 billion, I recognise that this represents a small drop in the ocean. However, it would send a strong, and much needed, signal to those we expect to deal with the most austere budgetary cuts in just a few weeks’ time.”