27 November 2008

Harney entangled in hairy FÁS 'Florida Gate'

One of the - recently revealed - spurious expenses paid for with a FÁS credit card was for $ 410, spent at a Florida beauty parlour, which was said to relate to a time when Minister Mary Harney (right) was in the Department of Health.

Last night her office said that she "might have been responsible for part of a bill incurred when she led a FÁS delegation to Florida as Enterprise, Trade & Employment Minister".
But her spokesman vigorously denied that what had amounted to "a wash and blow-dry" could have accounted for the entire bill.

It was also being suggested that "some others" on the delegation could have contributed to the controversial bill.

The Taoiseach, supporting spongers as usual, said he accepts the explanation given by Minister Harney about the hair dressing treatments, and that she has his "full confidence".
He also rejected vehemently calls from the opposition, especially from Fine Gael's spokesman on Enterprise, Trade & Employment Dr. Leo Varadkar, for Mary Harney's resignation.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1, independent Senator - and Business Editor of the Sunday Independent - Shane Ross (left), who investigated the misuse of FÁS money and published his findings in last Sunday's edition of his newspaper, explained that the invoice relating to a bill for $ 410 in a beauty salon in Florida is dated from 2004.
He said that there was a misprint by a year in the newspaper article on Sunday, which stated that the bill was from 2005.
He went on to say that the amount of $ 410 is correct, but that it was unclear how many people were responsible for the bill.

There is no question about the need for people in official positions to look proper in public, especially when they are representing the country abroad. However, one should remember that Ministers, TDs and Senators receive not only a very generous salary, but also have an equally generous allowance for their expenses.
This should be more than enough to cover any costs for clothes and shoes, as well as for personal hair and beauty treatments. And the same goes for senior civil servants and employees of state agencies.

Anyone working in the private sector has to pay for all these things from private funds and does usually not receive any allowance for it. So why should the taxpayers foot the bill for these private matters when it comes to public representatives and civil servants, whose income is much higher than that of anyone working in private business?!

The whole concept and attitude is wrong, and it is more than time that we end this self-indulgent culture, where those we elect to represent us believe they are entitled to the life of a king, at our expense.

Meanwhile the Board of FÁS has met last night to consider the circumstances that led to Rody Molloy's resignation and how the organisation should best move forward. (see also my entries of November 25th & 26th)
In a statement, the board said it was "gravely concerned about these matters", but that - in deference to the hearing of the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - it would not be making a detailed statement.

Silence is golden at FÁS, it seems, as golden as the lifestyle its senior staff enjoyed for many years at taxpayers' expense, and perhaps also as golden as the good-bye handshake for Rody Molloy will be.

We have really become a fine example of a banana republic, with the twist that we don't even have the climate to grow bananas.

The Emerald Islander

1 comment:

Blogger said...

If you want your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you gotta watch this video
right away...

(VIDEO) Text Your Ex Back?

Post a Comment