Ceann Comhairle’s position appears inconsistent and contradictory

John O’Donoghue claims the Ceann Comhairle position does not allow him to enter into a debate on what appears to be extraordinary expenses and that, anyway, the expenses were incurred by civil servants and not directly by himself.

In fact, he invokes the Constitution and states that “the Ceann Comhairle is the neutral officer in the House who is impartial and should be seen to be above politics and controversy”.

Of course, O’Donoghue’s stance would appear  contradictory and somewhat hypocritical  if you consider that  he has sent a solicitor’s letter to the Sunday Tribune in a direct attempt to silence the newspaper.

O’Donoghue also claims that it would not be normal for him to be acquainted with the finer details regarding financial arrangements for booking hotels, chauffeurs, booking his wife onto flights, hiring hats for her or paying €450 for a three minute trip between air terminals among many others.   What he is actually doing here is ‘passing the buck’ to his civil servants when, in fact, it is the Minister who, in law, takes responsibility for the workings or non-workings of his or her department, largesse or not.

Ceamm Comhairle John O'Donoghue

A side story here is the position of Tom O’Higgins, the political expenses watchdog who resigned in disgust last week at the foot-dragging by politicians who have failed to introduce vouched expenses and a cap on annual expenses. The chair of the Oireachtas Commission’s Audit Committee, which advises on internal controls and value for money issues, just happens to be Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue.

Meanwhile Taoiseach Brian Cowen today ( Monday 14th September 09 ) claimed that we are living beyond our means.


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September 2009
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