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Pensions debacle will cause people to turn their backs on politics – Doherty

5 May, 2010 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking at a Seanad debate on pensions, Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has said that the recent debacle over TDs and ministerial pensions will result in people turning their backs on politics.

He said:

“People are sick to the back teeth of hearing about scandals over expenses, junkets, bonuses, and now pensions. The recent debacle over state and ministerial pensions can only serve to cause yet more people to turn their backs on politics.

“The reality is that the political system in this state is rotten to the core and the culture of ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ reigns supreme.

“It is not only scandalous but is downright insulting. The fact that ordinary people have been made suffer the brunt of government cutbacks, when some former TDs and ministers are claiming huge pensions while currently serving as members of the Oireachtas or European Parliament is outrageous.

“We in Sinn Féin believe that payments of pensions to representatives sitting in the houses of the Oireachtas must end. However this is just the tip of the ice-berg. There are people in receipt of TD and ministerial pensions who are currently serving on state boards. The issue of multiple pensions is also not being dealt with. We in Sinn Féin firmly believe that pensions should be paid to fully retired individuals and that they should be in receipt of one, decent pension.

“The crisis in the public finances, contrary to what the government tell us, did not arise from a vacuum. It did not arise from the social welfare pay bill, the spending in the health system or the minimum wage. It arose from the failure of the government to manage the economy. It arose due to the culture of greed and hunger for richness which consumes the political elite in this state.

“Unless there is reform, we are in serious danger of alienating an entire generation of young people from the political process. Scandals such as huge pensions paid off the back of the tax-payer do nothing but damage politics. They are wrong, they should not have happened and immediate reform is needed to make sure that they don’t happen again.”

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