Monday, June 18, 2007

Seanad finances

The Independent News and Media folks have updated their site in recent weeks, and as a consequence appear to have upgraded their search engine too which is quite a good thing. For reasons of naked self interest I had a looksee at what turned up from the archives when I typed in “Seanad” and came across a very interesting article about campaign funding for the NUI Seanad race in 2002. I have to say that the €8,867 that Bernadine received in 2002 would have paid for a hell lot of advertising and printing in today’s prices not to mind how much it bought back then. Interesting that she was in effect getting every ASTI member to cough up for her campaign while suggesting she was putting herself on their behalf.

Another more recent article throws up the issue of money and financial backing again but in different context. Ms. Susan Philips says "...But the university Senators - and there are six in total, three from the NUI and three from Trinity - should ideally be absolutely free from pressure groups, party politics or financial obligations.'"

It might be just that I’m coming from a PAYE background with my dad as a council worker in Kerry but I would have thought the salary of a Seanad member (running at €62,000 for a newbie though many more are apparently on much higher sums) should be more than enough to keep them free from "financial obligations" yet it would appear from her comments that Ms. Philips believes that being terribly, terribly rich is not alone a good thing in politics but that when it comes to the Seanad it is darn nearly a requirement. I suppose it is easy for someone who has the financial clout of Ballyfree Farm behind them to say this.

I’ve paid for my campaign out of my own funds. I’ll post the amounts I've outlaid at the end of the campaign (don’t want people stealing in on my bargains now, do I) and in large part the SSIA has met the bills.

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