Green party Mayor Malcolm Noonan has expressed his satisfaction at the resignation of the Ceann Comhairle John O’ Donoghue and while doing so he called for a cap on expenses paid to politicians and on their salaries.
Speaking to the Kilkenny Advertiser this week he said that the position of John O Donoghue had become untenable and in order to restore credibility to the political system he had no option but to resign.
In welcoming the resignation, he said that the privilege of serving people should be reward enough for anyone in public office. “Oireachtas members are well paid for their work, there should be absolutely no abuse of the system. It’s simply unacceptable while so many people and communities are suffering,” he said.
Mayor Noonan was unequivocal in his criticism of the abuse of trust of the former Ceann Comhairle and he said that there could be no middle ground - that the Ceann Comhairle had consistently abused his position for personal benefit, both in this office and as minister for arts, sports, and tourism.
“Too many people that I represent are being asked to take a disproportionate share of the burden of the economic recession and we cannot expect them to endure more hardship in the forthcoming budget while public representatives fail to show due cause’ said Mayor Noonan.
“Furthermore I do not believe that the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission can act impartially to deal with the matter, as the system now prevalent is there to the benefit of all Oireachtas members and there is a reluctance towards reform,” he said.
He called for a root and branch reform of the Dail expenses regime, with a cap on Ministerial and TDs’ expenses and the introduction of vouched expenses for all Oireachtas members. He also believes that salaries need to be further reduced to levels more in keeping with our European counterparts.
“We need to send out a strong signal to the public that we as politicians are willing to lead by example and steer this country back towards a more sustainable path where resources are distributed equally. Politics cannot operate in a vacuum, we must be sensitive to the hurt and offence that this issue is causing,” Mayor Noonan concluded.