Making Allowances

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Fianna Fáil TD Frank O’Rourke 

You’ll recall yesterday’s post in which Ken Foxe reported on newly elected Fianna Fáil TD Frank O’Rourke’s travel expenses.

Mr O’Rourke, who lives in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, is paid an extra €16,000-a-year in tax-free expenses because his commute to work is 500 metres above the threshold for politicians that live close to Leinster House.

Earlier today, Mr O’Rourke spoke to Shane Beatty on Kildare FM about the story.

Grab a tay…

Shane Beatty: “You’re going around in circles and bringing up the council here.”

Frank O’Rourke: “I need to answer the question here and the question is…”

Beatty: “No, but you didn’t answer it, Frank, my question was when did you realise that because you live less than 500m above the threshold that you can potentially earn €16,000 more than if you lived just under 25 kilometres. That’s all I want to know.”

O’Rourke: “Yeah, you’ll only raise…I realised that probably properly when the journalist contacted me about a week and a half ago because when you submit…”

Beatty: “And did you get a shock? Like did your jaw drop to the floor?”

O’Rourke: “No, Shane, interviews can be selective and it probably suiting the interview for you to be selective. The reality here is you submit the information and the information is adjudicated. If I was .5 of a kilometre under the band, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. When I was a councillor for five years and when I was the lowest councillor on the list, claiming expenses for the five years which there’s absolutely the right thing to do – you only claim what you’re entitled to claim. That’s all I’ve ever done, that’s all I’ll ever do, I never got any airplay over that. Whenever the terms and conditions of any scheme is changed or altered, I will abide by that because I’m not motivated by that. I’m motivated about working hard..”

Beatty: “Sure.”

O’Rourke: “Delivering for the constituency and anything I get I put it back into giving my constituency and constituents the best possible service which I do and I’m renowned for doing and I’ve a reputation for delivering.”

Beatty: “Ok.”

O’Rourke: “And that will continue.”

Beatty: “But Celbridge is seen as a commuter town and very much, for a lot of people, people would feel it’s an add-on or an addendum to Dublin. I mean you have Dublin Buses, the clue is in the name folks, Dublin Buses going in to Celbridge. Were you stunned when you realised that to travel from your house to Leinster House, that you will receive €25,000 in expenses, for that, a year?”

Beatty: “Two things there. One is you haven’t made any allowance for all of the work that’s done by me and others. We were talking about me in this case this morning. Travelling in the constituency, carrying out very diligent work with clinics, with meetings, etc. For example, you’re welcome to join me any day you want, starting at 7.30am in the morning and, like last night, finishing at 11 o’clock. That’s what I’ve signed up to. I’m interested in politics, I’m driven by delivery, I’m happy to continue to do that.  So you’re not taking that into consideration whatsoever and, obviously, when those limits are set, by the Houses of the Oireachtas and the Department, which is hugely important to put in play here, in being it’s done on that basis. I have no control over Shane and you know this and I have no input to any limits that’s being set. However, however if those limits are reviewed, and they’re changed, then fine, I’ll work with them but no matter where you change the limits, Shane, no matter where you put the limit, there’s always going to be someone having a similar conversation with you that I’m having with you. It could be somebody else another day. And the reality is Shane, when is a limit, when is a limit, Shane, and a band not a limit. Because if you change the limit to 35km and someone is 35.5, you’ll be having the same conversation with them so when does all that become a reality. That’s the question.”

Beatty: “You’re very keen to say you’ve done nothing wrong and you haven’t done anything wrong and the rules are that if it is, if you live over 25 kilometres away from Leinster House you’re in the higher band when it comes to your expenses. But I just want to talk morally here, how does it sit with you, that to drive from Celbridge to Dublin, you receive €25,000 a year, effectively for petrol?”

O’Rourke: “But that’s, Shane, you’re not looking at it in an open way…”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Mileage Of Shame

69 thoughts on “Making Allowances

    1. Rugbyfan

      +25.5K

      How there is not more rage about the allowances, expenses, etc that the TDs get is beyond me!

    2. Observer

      Exactly.

      TDs should all be paid the same and no travel expenses at all. So what if some TDs happen to live close to Dublin and others in Belmullet. They should just accept that and pay for it out of their own pocket. There is no constitutional requirement for TDs to go around their constituency and meet voters, so they shouldn’t get a penny of that covered either.

      I think we would have a better class of politician if they weren’t paid anything at all, and just hand to fund it from their own pocket.

        1. Cian

          Those who know they’re going to get backhanders for doing so or are already loaded. UK Tory Party, basically.

        2. 15 cents

          “How many would run for office if there was no gravy?” .. just the ones actually interested in running the country. would be great to cut expenses and weed out the gravy trainers.

      1. ahjayzis

        I commuted from Celbridge to town (we call it town, even though it’s so far away!) for about ten years, I think a bus ticket cost 15 quid for the week unlimited travel.

        I’m all for covering expenses for people from far-flung places to get to the Dail, that’s equality – but not someone from Celbridge. And covering expenses should cover trains and buses – not a chauffeur driven limo with three or four hookers.

        We go out of our way when politicians are elected to ensure they no longer live in the same society as the rest of us, they travel in luxury and will never, ever want for money again for the rest of their lives, even bankruptcy can leave you with 100’s of 1000’s a year – while expecting them to run the society the rest of us live in. It’s obscene.

    1. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

      True – he doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going, or which way to turn next

    1. Pip

      Oh, and, why are the expenses not per km, like in any sane (or even fair-minded) operation…???
      How the heck did it get like this?
      Snout… trough…. snout…. trough…. snout…. trough….

      1. Rob_G

        +1

        It’s such a daft system; the integrity of each TD who lives near each threshold will be brought into question. I understand that being a TD is a taxing job which often requires a lot of travel; but they already have considerable salaries – they should all just be given fuel cards to use as they need instead.

    2. Frilly Keane

      Meh
      Integrity is only for the likes of me and you

      I’d settle for a bitta cop on from our TDs

      Get the effin bus ya chancer ya

  1. jungleman

    Why didn’t the interviewer just ask him would he forego the extra 15,000? It’s such an easy way to establish the true attitude of yer man..

  2. mauriac

    the Healy Rae’s aren’t the only parish pump politicians in the country.What vainglorious waffle.”clinics” my eye.

    1. jungleman

      The use of the word “clinics” by politicians is galling. It’s like they think they are doctors or something

      1. ahjayzis

        Doing the hard work of making sure their voters get the services they’re entitled to in the first place. Essentially seeking reward for patching over cracks in the system they’re paid to ensure has no cracks.

        1. Continuity Jay-Z

          The cracks are often left in the system to ensure the relevance of a politicians intervention.

  3. Shayna

    Perhaps if TDs were given a special permit to fuel their cars with Green/Red Diesel (Agricultural), then the bill for expenses on travel may diminish? It’s still an outrageous bill for travel that ‘normal’ folks have to soak up for the daily grind.

    1. ForFecksSake

      It is not expensive for TDs to travel to the Dáil so there is no need to reduce the cost. We just need to pay the actual cost of travel and not an amount that is more than many people’s annual income.

  4. Kevin

    Let’s be overly generous and say that the journey costs €10 per day. (very generous)
    that’s €50 a week is he is in and out every Mon-Fri (unlikely)
    That’s €2,600 if he does it every single week. (nope, since they take the summer off)
    Did someone make a mistake with a decimal point when they set this up?

    1. B Hewson

      He says he “only claims what he is entitled to claim” . Sums it up really. He is so convinced that he is entitled to this tax free money, unvouched, that he cannot see the issue here. The entitlement culture sumed up in one. His hands in the pocket photo irks me too.

      1. 15 cents

        +2 .. at no point does he show any moral stand point, its all about what hes entitled to.

  5. Kevin O'Connor

    The wages are to pay him for the “work” he does. He keeps saying they don’t consider the amount of work he does. They do and he is well paid for it ! He knew where he lived before the election ! These “politicians” must get lessons in bullpoo from party H.Q.

    1. jungleman

      Seriously, why don’t they just ask him to forego it? Why has nobody suggested this to him?!

      1. Pip

        Spot on.
        If I remember my schoolboy Latin, isn’t ‘forego’ the ablative absolute of ‘integrity’?

        1. jungleman

          Exactly. Like if that was suggested to him live on air, he would be completely cornered.

  6. Junkface

    This is Irish Politics at its CORE. Getting nice big payouts for doing nothing. Congrats to all the Mongoloids who voted Fianna Fail again, you got what you voted for.

  7. Jimmy Ireland

    New Gardaí have to work 80km from home and are no longer paid a 4 grand rent allowance.

    New TD works 25.5km from home and gets 25 grand a year expenses (tax free) – more than a new Garda’s entire salary at 23,400 euro (before tax).

  8. Josh

    Pigs in a trough that always pull the moral high ground when the rest of us refuse to pay unjust taxes and levies etc. All politicians in my view are just human vileness personified. Imagine this guy gets paid 25k TAX FREE. Just free tax payers money while the average tax payer suffers with tax after tax. Disgusting.

  9. The Bottler

    Remember Ivor, travelling to the Senate from his “home” in west cork. Yeah rite!

  10. Shane

    None of this is really surprising though it’s just indicative of the whole system

  11. ForFecksSake

    The real question is why is there no relationship between the cost of travel and the amount paid? It doesn’t cost anywhere near 25,000 so why is that the policy?

  12. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    Go easy on him, please.

    Look at his face…
    -Don’t try to tell me that he didn’t get bullied at school.

    Look at his face again, I dare you…
    That is the face of someone who should be doing their Leaving Cert., and a warning to everyone against using Botox.

    Go easy on him.
    -You don’t know what it’s like living 500m from -€16,000, tax-free.

  13. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    I know I’m out-stepping my rank
    But shut up and let me be Frank
    You might think I’m LUCKY
    You might think I’m FUNKY
    But FUNK YOU, I’m going to the bank’

  14. donal

    1. TD’s are and should be paid a lot of money to make it attractive for middle class people who could earn similar doing what they do. If you pay them little then someone with a hefty mortgage is effectively excluded and you are left with is the low paid and the independently wealthy. We need the low paid and the wealthy AND the middle class to be our representatives.

    2. Our parliament is based in Dublin. That makes it accessible to people who live in Dublin but less accessible to those who live far away and because we want all our constituencies to be equally represented in the Oireachtas we give people an allowance to make it easier for them to get to and from their constituency, a journey they all make a lot.

    After that its a matter of quibbling about distances and amounts. Focusing on this poor chump is pathetic.

        1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

          I don’t know if I should continue following this series.
          …it never goes anywhere..
          I’ll wait for the box-set.

          Is it some ‘arty’ thing, like a self-referencing statement about self-reference, or a simple insult to people who speak English properly like what me and you do?
          -From what I’m hearing, it looks like it…

          1. The Key of G

            @ Admins

            user ‘Anne’ if that is her real name believes that she has domain over these comments threads and seeks to limit the contributions of those with whom she does not agree even preventing them from commenting on threads where she had given her opinions.

            Please can you prioritise this investigation as this campaign of online bullying is making for a negative user/ commenting experience for many

    1. ForFecksSake

      25,000 euros. That is 68 weeks work at minimum wage. He would need to be driving back and forth between Leinster House and his house all day every day that the Dáil is sitting to spend that money on travel.

  15. Alex Chilton

    If they’re going to offer this allowance (I don’t think they should), it should be banded and not flat-rate.

  16. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    Oh, sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq…
    I’m sooooo disappointed in you…

    You keep saying that you never use more than one name.
    -Excuse me, but you just did. You did do dat, I saw you.

    That’s why you have TWO comments ‘in moderation’.
    -You have no understanding of how this stuff works, do you?

  17. Anne

    So basically, he feels like he works so hard, he feels like he’s worth it.. we all have our l’oreal moment now and then I suppose.

    These jokers are taking the p*ss..

  18. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    But he looks so nice…
    You feel like you could cuddle him…if only he didn’t live so far away…

    …what to do, what to do…
    …if it was up to me I’d move my house 500m for €16,000 a year. I’m not saying he* did, but he didn’t go far enough.

    * Donald Trump.

    1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

      Ah…you sound like you’re new around here Kdoc1 …

      …are you expecting something to happen, or something..?
      You’ll be waiting a long time Pal…

      A long, long time.

  19. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    I know what you’re doing sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq…
    You’re trying to get people to click on your name, to hear an ‘art-band- from the 80s, like you’re some kinda Uber-Hipster guy who …hang on a minute …

  20. 15 cents

    when the Beatty puts it to him “But I just want to talk morally here, how does it sit with you, that to drive from Celbridge to Dublin, you receive €25,000 a year, effectively for petrol?” .. he shows his true political colours, he doesnt see any moral connection to it at all, its just about being his right to claim the expenses. you’ll fit in at the Dail, its not a place for morals, its just one large pig trough, and this jerks snout is already well dug in.

  21. Boba Fettucine

    Revenue have been conducting aside scale crackdown on private sector workers claiming expenses – the upshot of which is if it’s your normal place of work you can’t claim – eg if you’re an IT contractor working for one client then you can’t claim mileage. http://www.osk.ie/news/recent-news/update-on-revenue-audit-of-contractors/

    Given that the Dail is, one would imagine, the ‘normal place of work’ of TDs why does Revenue allow the claiming of mileage?

    Perhaps Broadsheet could contact them for comment?

  22. ReproBertie

    My local FG TD, Noel Rock, and the new councillor who replaced him, are pooling their travel expenses into a fund that they will distribute to sports clubs in the constituency. At first I thought he’d be better off just not claiming them but maybe the Dáil forces the money into their pockets.

    Anyway, fair play to him I say (though I didn’t vote for him).

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