An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised us this year that we will have a referendum on the abolishment of the Seanad, which houses 60 elected, quasi elected and “given the nod” of our great and good whose main purpose in life is to improve the quality of legislation passing through the Oireachtas. These 60 who already earn basic salaries of €65,621 – and who coincidentally will have to give up €32 of their salaries under Croke Park 2, yes that’s more than 60c a week! – also receive a range of perks and allowances eg €44,336 for Paddy Burke who is the speaker or An Cathaoirleach – take a look at all their pay and perks here, it’s fantastic stuff for a country in an IMF bailout with a €12bn annual deficit.
In the meantime until the abolishment referendum, the Senators continue with their work, but as we see today with the publication of the register of member interests for 2013, many of them have work beyond the confines of the north wing of Leinster House.
It should be said that there are senators who show nil returns throughout, though a significant number have other assets and incomes which indicate considerable diversion from the duties as senators.
There are snippets of interest throughout, two senators – Martin Conway and John Kelly – registered gifts from Iranian interests for a conference in Paris, recently-resigned senator and hubby of former Irish president, Mary McAleese, Martin discloses he has received as gifts, membership of several golf clubs including one at the K Club in Kildare. Also interesting that Professor John Crown who has given up his salary from the Oireachtas post to charity, lists drug interests in shares and providing travel facilities.