Junket John and the public perception of politicians

John O’Donoghue wants only to save his own skin.

He cares not about apologising – or even attempting to justify himself – to the people who pay his wages, allowances, mileage, phone bills, unvouched expenses, advisers’ salaries, second residence upkeep and maintenance bills, hotel bills, office administration costs and limosine bills. Clearly.

Even when Paschal Sheehy of RTÉ doorstepped him – the first unplanned doorstepping I’ve seen here in years – he outright refused to apologise.

O’Donoghue is chair of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission which is tasked with overseeing “ongoing expenditure” and “paying all salaries and expenses and keeping and publishing accounts”. He started this job two years ago, following five years seemingly spent bathing himself in taxpayers’ cash. It has now been proven, mainly by Ken Foxe, that he is and was unqualified to fulfill such a role.

He should step down.

Yet he refuses even to give his employers – the taxpayer – the respect of a straight response. He dodged Paschal Sheehy’s question today and as Elaine Byrne points out in The Irish Times, his letter was addressed to fellow TDs, not the Irish people. Even in that statement he inexplicably refers only to the expenses he has incurred since becoming Ceann Comhairle, not his stark disregard for our money while Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism.

The excuse for this silence? I quote the man himself:

The nature of the position of Ceann Comhairle as impartial chairman of Dáil Éireann under the Constitution prevents me from becoming embroiled in public controversy in the media or on the floor of the House.

One the many reasons he should step down?

The nature of the position of Ceann Comhairle as impartial chairman of Dáil Éireann under the Constitution prevents them from becoming embroiled in public controversy in the media or on the floor of the House.

I’m no fool, obviously Junket John won’t step down of his own volition, this is Ireland. And I know the gutless Opposition won’t force him out at this point because they’d have to fill his (Italian leather?) shoes with one their own.

But the truth is that unless he goes he will continue to corrode the general perception of our public representatives from the core.

Remember politicians, no matter who wins the next election, Junket John will be in the Dáil. He taints you all.

5 thoughts on “Junket John and the public perception of politicians”

  1. The nature of the position of Ceann Comhairle as impartial chairman of Dáil Éireann under the Constitution prevents them from becoming embroiled in public controversy in the media or on the floor of the House.

    It may do, in so far as he cannot involve himself in the matters discussed in the Dail, inside the chamber or outside, save to mediate impartially.

    However, his position does not serve to INSULATE him from controversy that he embroils himself in by his inexcusable actions outside of that role. It is not an even blanket of exculpability.

    That is the distinction that no-one has really hammered home.

  2. Clearly our Ceann Comhairle lives in a fantasy world of his own making. The fact is a controversy in the media exists and the constitutional position of the role did not prevent this controversy ergo Mr. Donoghue’s statement is factually incorrect.

  3. The position is quite clear—he must go–and if he fails to do so the Oireachtas must send him packing. Failure to do so would seriously damage our democratic institutions

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