AMID ALL THE discussion about expenses claimed by TDs in Leinster House, one politician stands out.
Labour TD Eamonn Maloney is the only TD in the Dáil who claimed no expenses at all in 2011. Despite many TDs claiming more than €50,000 in expenses in less than a year, the Dublin South West TD didn’t claim a single euro on travel, accommodation or costs according to new figures released by the Houses of the Oireachtas.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie the Labour TD said that he is not crusading on the issue but that it’s a matter of principle.
As TDs, we earn a huge amount of money already – over €90,000 a year. I was on the dole before I was elected because I’d lost my job two years before the election and I’d worked in a factory before that. So I think the average worker looking on, especially given the economic state of the country, can be left dismayed by the amounts involved.
Maloney had refused to accept expenses as a councillor on South Dublin County Council, where he had served for twelve years before being elected to the Dáil.
It’s a matter of principle for me. I didn’t break it in the Council and I’m not going to do it here.
He told TheJournal.ie:
As a councillor I was opposed to the junket fund that existed for local authorities. I was opposed to it in principle and I think it was the kind of thing that gave a lot of councillors a bad name. Coming into the Dáil I had said in advance that I was opposed to the allowances and perks that TDs receive so it would have been rather hypocritical to talk about it before an election and then come in here and claim it.
The Dublin South West TD doesn’t pass judgement on other TDs who do claim the expenses though.
I’m not crusading on this. I think that it’s up to the individual. I represent the most working class constituency in the country and it’s where I live, so I think it’s a matter for each deputy. It’s between them and their constituencies.
Maloney was critical of the expenses system as it currently stands:
I don’t know of any public servant in Ireland who gets paid for turning up to work. If you can find someone in the public or private sectors who does, or who is lucky enough to have a job in the first place, but the concept of paying someone who already gets a salary to show themselves in the parliament – I just find it extraordinary
Maloney is originally from Donegal but has lived in Tallaght for over 30 years. Since being elected to the Dáil last year he has campaigned on a number of issues including reducing the social housing waiting lists, securing city status for Tallaght and scrapping motor tax to be replaced by a ‘pay as you drive’ system.
Maloney says he doesn’t get any reaction about the expenses and he doesn’t raise it as an issue. “Only if people say it to me. Some people occasionally say look, you’re on perks and things like that, and that’s the only time I’d raise it”.