Sep 092012
 

Have a look at these two.

This is Richie Butler, and his colleague, Mary Harty.

Richie and Mary are elected to Limerick County Council and for the year 2011 they both claimed expenses of over €50,000.  Richie and Mary are politicians who don’t do anything apart from searching for votes.  They provide no public services and they have no offices or staff.

Now, as you’ll be aware, there is much talk of the Croke Park Agreement, which doesn’t relate to the likes of Richie and Mary, but which concerns public servants doing an actual job, as opposed to being politicians.  And you’ll be aware that there is huge public resistance to paying public servants anything at all.

Fair enough.  That’s a discussion for another day, but nevertheless, if you were expected to drive from here to there, you’d consider it reasonable to get your petrol money at least.  And you’d expect something towards your tyres, and general wear and tear, or else you’d expect a company car.  Isn’t that right?

Most council officials don’t exceed about 10,000 miles a year because it takes time to do a job, but Richie and Mary, who have no jobs, and are only councillors, last year each claimed €50,000 in travelling expenses.

What do you think of that?  County councillors, who contribute nothing at all to the services provided to the public, claiming this sort of money, while working public servants are subjected to vilification?

I did a little breakdown, just to put it in perspective.

Councillors Butler and Harty both claimed over €50,000 travelling expenses on a single year. At an average rate of 60 cents per mile, this means that they each drove approximately 85,000 miles in the year as part of their duties.

Or to put it another way, over the 260 working days in the calendar, disregarding any holidays, they drove 326 miles each and every day.

Now, let’s say they took four weeks holidays in the year, and they’re fully entitled to it. We won’t begrudge them.

That means they had 240 working days to cover all those miles. Richie and Mary had to drive 354 miles each and every day.

How long does that take? Around Ireland, speeds average about 45mph when you take into account the state of the roads. That means that they were about 7 hours, 50 minutes on the road, every single day, without a pause.

This leaves them with 10 minutes to deal with all those vital constituency issues.  Every day

But wait!

Everybody needs a break. Nobody could be expected to spend nearly eight hours behind the wheel. Apart from anything else, you’d need to stop for petrol and a visit to the little boys’ room. Not to mention the hurried wolfing-down of a breakfast roll. Even the most dedicated public servant is entitled to that.

Oh God.  They’re on the road for nearly nine hours every day.  And if you add in Christmas, Easter and all the other statutory holidays, in order to achieve the necessary mileage they’d need to be on the road for something approaching ten hours every day behind the wheel, before they ever meet a single constituent or exchange a single word at one of their vital democratic functions.

But wait.  This doesn’t allow for any time attending area meetings or Council meetings.  The things, in other words, that they were elected to do.  Let’s call that another ten hours a week.

They’re behind the wheel for eleven hours a day.  Surely it’s illegal to be driving that long, and what about their families?

Now, how’s that for dedication?  It’s an awful lot of driving, wouldn’t you agree?

This is the cost of keeping seven or eight working employees on the road doing an actual job. Multiply it by 26 councillors and you have the cost of keeping 200 council employees delivering a genuine service as opposed to promising political phantom services.

 

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Elsewhere: Limerick Leader


  29 Responses to “Limerick County Councillors Claim €50 Thousand Travelling Expenses for One Year”

Comments (28) Pingbacks (1)
  1.  

    I also have to highlight this, which is on par, if not worse. This is the reason everybody MUST pay their household charge immediately, or the sky will fall on Limerick
    http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/local/limerick-city-council-employee-claimed-expenses-while-out-on-leave-1-4236207

  2.  

    Anybody voting for Butler and Harty is either stupid or corrupt.

  3.  

    No problem when youre a buddy of Baldy. Any wonder theyre smiling?

  4.  

    True enough. Richie used to be Baldy’s right-hand man, didn’t he?

  5.  

    I presume you have heard of the Freedom Of Information Act?

    It will cost you 75 yo-yo’s to get the facts and put you in a position where you can base your comments on Government Approved Facts (which for some reason, you believe cary some merit).

    This post is nothing less short of speculation, backed up by populist opinion. I’m not saying it’s not true, just that you have failed to prove your case.

  6.  

    it’s like a Healy rae/Harney tribute act.

  7.  

    They’re like a Harney/healy Rae tribute act

  8.  

    I had a go at this a while back in relation to TDs expenses. They seem to exist in a parallel universe.

    ::

  9.  

    And with Limerick being only 20sq miles, that’s a hell of a lot of driving round in circles every day!

  10.  

    It’s the county, not the city.

  11.  

    There is an entire class of individuals who are milking the Irish state coffers dry, one bundle of €10,000 at a time.

  12.  

    The question needs to be asked as to who authorised these payments. Apart from being physically impossible(never mind highly dangerous) to keep on driving the mileage day in day out which you calculated Bock, I just cant see how someone would not question an amount of 50 grand for travelling expenses for one individual. There isnt a private company in this country which could justify or indeed afford, that kind of outlay. Neither would one have to be of inordinate percipience to detect that the whiff from this could be euphemistically referred to as rodent like. FF plundered this country for many years. Indeed in 2010 Gilmore stood up in the Dail and accused an indignant Cowen of financial treason. Gilmore needs to look no further than the two jokers pictured at the top of this page,to realise that FG/Labour are intent on pursuing the continuum. I wonder when Baldy is doffing his cap to the IMF and their demands for property tax,welfare cuts,health cuts etc., does it ever occur to him that his colleagues continue to bleed us dry in this obscene manner? But judging by his track record,Id say the man has the backbone of a fucking sand eel.

  13.  

    There’s no way that a council employee would make such a claim, but these good folks are politicians. They have no boss.

    I agree with you about safety. It may well be that such inordinate amounts of driving are contrary to the council’s safety policy. Indeed, I would worry for the councillors’ health. It’s like taking a long-distance flight every day.

    I hope they wear compression stockings.

  14.  

    Yes,compression stockings are obligatory while riding the gravy train.

  15.  

    I never heard of Mary, council affairs not being my forte.
    Richie I do know of.
    I know he had a lot of houses built by another family member and the neighbors had issue with his letting those properties to undesirables so perhaps he needs the cash to pay the bills there.
    The Minister for Finance and Richie are the best of buddies so he’s sorted no matter what.
    But as to Mary, I’ve no idea who’s got ‘her back’ – so to speak.

  16.  

    You forgot to mention the €38,000 a year of salary they get. It poses the question of what do councillors do and why do we need over 1,000 of them all over the country?

  17.  

    Why do we need Councilors in the first place? All decisions are made by unelected officials like County Managers, Directors of Services etc. The councilors just seem to be on the Gravy Train.

  18.  

    Councillors exist to create the illusion of local democracy.

    Ironically, the last time we had local democracy in Ireland was pre-1921.

  19.  

    Jesus. Would you look at the pair of them. I would love to round up everyone who voted for these two jackasses and put them in a big room –and study them intensely. Measure their responses to stimuli, observe their grooming patterns, and maybe cut up some of their brains to try and figure out what the fuck they were thinking.
    Every time i look at one of these assholes i think of the hundreds if not thousands of thoughtless, irresponsible, cud-chewing morons who are responsible for electing these people into positions of power and influence.

  20.  

    You’d be surprised how few people it takes to elect a councillor.

    Richie was elected with 1606 votes and Mary with 1199.

  21.  

    Sounds like a great job to me . . .how do you apply ?

  22.  

    Very easy. Just run for office in the next local elections as an independent. You might or might not be elected, although there are quite a few independent councillors out there. You don’t even need the ability to string three coherent sentences together. All you need is a brass neck.

    If you happen to be close to senior members of FF or FG, it’s even easier. They put you on the ticket and you’re pretty much guaranteed a seat.

  23.  

    Baldy noonan taught me in the comp way back when they still gave us slaps. I will have a word . .

  24.  

    Will you lay off the poor Travellers. They’re entitled to their Traveller’s Expenses.

  25.  

    There is a story in the Leader about Mr. Butler from a number of years ago, and according to that report we should allow for time spent travelling to and from Spain which may be why Mr Butler was unavailable for comment recently.

    http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/local/residents-hit-out-at-councillor-s-social-housing-deal-1-2181251.

    http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/local/limerick-councillors-defend-earnings-and-expenses-1-4231109

  26.  

    Ah well more of the same gombeen ‘min’ and ‘wimin’ getting elected and no responsibility to man nor beast but to themselves. Just a microcosm of the political system in this country………..no wonder we’re fucked.

  27.  

    Your story above is perhaps not factually correct. It states that the full EUR50k relates to travel expenses only. It doesn’t take into account that of that EUR50k, EUR17k goes towards salary, an additional amount towards Chairman fees, with the balance on travel expenses. It should also be noted that I assume this is not just petrol money – it would also cover lunches, dinners, phone, adhoc expenses aswell as accomodation if necessary (which it shouldn’t be).

    Despite all this, it’s a disgraceful amount of money to be paid. The individuals I’m sure, do work the hours and deserve to be rewarded in line with that. However, they need to show accountability for their work and be able to point to results for work done in return for reward receipted. If they can’t, the job should be passed to someone who will.

  28.  

    How about if I cut the number in half?

    Richie and Mary only claimed €25,000 in travelling. That means they only spent five solid hours behind the wheel every single day. Does that sound better?

    If you get a proper breakdown of the figures, please share it.

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