The big salaries, expenses and pensions of politicians were strongly criticised by all party members at Mountmellick Town Council’s October monthly meeting.
Declared Chairman Pat Bowe (Labour): “I feel very strongly about this.” He slammed those TDs and Senators who had claimed expenses for August even though the Oireachtas was not sitting.
He urged: “They should start cutting themselves back first before hitting the poor.”
He went on: “They are drawing big salaries. They do not need those subsidies. Poor people are getting it very hard to live. They (TDs, Senators) are getting more in subsidies than they are getting in salaries.”
Cllr Michael Gormley (Ind): “Have you raised that at a Labour Party meeting? Do you intend to do it?”
Clk Bowe: “Of course I do.”
Cllr Paddy Bracken (FF) rapped AIB for again increasing the variable interest rate. He continued: “I thought 14 or 15 months ago (at general election) that we were going to have a new beginning. The arrogance that has set in is unreal. Are they (Government) living in the real world at all?”
Cllr Rosemary Whelan (FG) urged people in financial difficulty to talk to their banks.
Cllr Ollie Payne (FG): “The Government is only a year and a half there. It took the other Government 14 years to create the problem.”
Chairman Bowe: “What they are doing at the moment is continuing the ‘misgivings’ of the previous Government. Most people are saying there’s no difference between one and the other.”
Cllr Stephen Lynch (SF): “There ain’t no jobs in this country any more. There isn’t money in the pockets of the people. Everything is going up in price. People cannot afford it.”
Cllr Bobby Delaney (FG) referred to the pensions of former Ministers. Martin Cullen was living in Florida on a 200,000 euro pension, he claimed.
“We can’t keep paying those pensions,” insisted Cllr Delaney.
Cllr Bracken: “Is John Bruton (former Fine Gael Taoiseach) in that?”
Cllr Delaney: “He is. I don’t agree with that either. I think it’s a pure scandal what they are getting. Three or four of them (retired Ministers) are younger than myself.”