There once was a time when anyone connected with Fianna Fail took whatever they were ‘legally’ entitled to - and more - from the State coffers without so much as a blush.
But the times they are a-changing and we are seeing a new breed of Fianna Failer - ones who take nothing and are proud of that fact.
Take a bow Dublin City Cllr Jim O’Callaghan - full time lawyer and younger brother of RTE’s Mother Superior Miriam.
In his latest newsletter, Cllr Jim makes a point of telling his people that they will never be seeing his name in the headlines for claiming outlandish expenses.
“At a time when public funds are so tight, it is important that your public representatives keep you informed of how your money is being spent,” he wrote.
“Politicians cannot expect members of the public to take cuts in their standards of living when politicians claim unnecessary or excessive expenses. The public has a right to know what expenses its representatives receive.”
So, for the record, Cllr Jim said he claimed no expenses for attending conferences and he directed that his conference allowance of €2,500 be transferred to the city council’s budget for housing in his area.
He even refused the free laptop and blackberry phone paid for by the City Council and offered to all councillors.
And to top all of that, he didn’t claim any telephone allowance or travel expenses.
“During the past year I attended every meeting of the City Council, the South East Area Committee, the Arts and Culture Committee and the South East Area Joint Policing Committee.”
“For this I received an annual salary of €16,895.44 and the fixed allowance of €8,525.38 for full attendance at meetings.”
“All payments I receive from the Council are used to run my office, pay for newsletters and to provide a service to those in this area,” he said.
In a hell that has frozen over, it is nice to come across a breath of fresh air!.