We don’t need more TDs we need urgent Action on the Cost of Living. - Tóibín
Responding to calls for an increased number of TDs, Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has said this proposal is simply unaffordable amid the current cost of living crisis, and instead emphasis should be on ensuring the currently elected TDs are doing their jobs.
An Teachta Tóibín: “As petrol hits €2 per litre at the pumps this week, it is simply out of touch to be talking about electing 10-15 additional TDs when the current Dáil isn’t doing its job. TDs are currently paid €100,000 per annum, up to €34,000 under ‘Travel and Accommodation Allowances, €24,000 plus for a secretarial assistant, €41,000 plus for parliamentary assistant, €23,000 plus for the Public Representation Allowance, and over €90,000 on pension contributions. That means each TD costs the taxpayer more than €300,000 per year. To elect that number of additional TDs would be an additional €3-4.5 million per annum. Ireland currently has 160 TDs, and 60 Senators to represent the people. Emphasis should be on holding those currently elected to account, and enforcing the public mandate – not expanding our political class. This move would come at additional cost to the taxpayer, instead of focusing the numerous economic issues hurting every household across the country. For the cost of those 10-15 TDs, we could add beds to our hospital service, affordable housing to our housing stock, teachers to our classrooms – what would be more beneficial to the Irish people?”
“In France, there is proportionally one National Assembly member per at least 116,000 citizens. In Poland, there is one Deputy of the Sejm per more than 67,000 citizens. Belgium who has population more than twice our size, has less than Deputies than us (1 Representative per 76,000 plus citizens). Ireland is a small nation with a small population, yet we have 60 senators, 160 TDs, and 949 county Cllrs to represent the people. There is an argument for an increase in the number and power of councillors and the Seanad should be made more useful in its activities. Why is our emphasis not on making the current system of politics work, rather than expanding the current largesse of our political classes? Furthermore, Bunreacht na hÉireann only mandates a review of our demographic representation every 12 years. The Constituency Commission last reported in 2017. We already added two seats in 2017 and changed constituencies, after having reduced our Dáil from 166 seats previously. If there needs to be a Referendum to change the constitution on the population/TD rations that should be done. Our focus should be on a governance structure that works for the people, as opposed to focusing on ratios and numbers which do no affect the quality of representation.”