They’re all going on a summer holiday – our politicians, that is, who have “risen” from their Dail seats for the traditional recess. They won’t be required back in Leinster House until 17th September, a break of 2 months.
By any reckoning, this length of time is ridiculous. It’s not as if the country grinds to a halt from July to September – important issues still crop up and I’m not just talking about Garth Brooks.
You have to wonder at the reason for such a long break. You’d think our TDs were exhausted, flat-out after a long year working hard for the good of the country. If only that were true. In reality, TDs have a fairly easy life. Yes, they’re responsible for making the decisions that affect our society, but they have so much support in terms of committees, civil servants, expert advice, spin doctors etc that the amount of actual work they have to do is fairly light. I don’t think you could compare it to your average nurse working shifts at all hours of the day and night.
Politicians will object of course; they’ll say that they keep working in their constituency clinics throughout the summer break. And that’s true. But maybe that’s the real reason why the break is so long. Having so much time to focus on their constituencies gives TDs plenty of time to work on meeting their voters, and this can only help to ensure that they get re-elected. Everyone’s a winner – except the tax payer of course, who ends up paying for a summer break that the rest of us can only dream of.
Maybe it’s time that this recess was looked at, particularly now that we’re in the midst of a recession. Wouldn’t it be a great gesture on the part of the government if they decided to cut it in half and spend the rest of the time working on creating jobs for the long-term unemployed? Or trying to figure out how to solve the endless problems with the health system?
If they did that, then we might be more inclined to believe politicians when they say they are doing the best for the country, instead of just thinking that too many of them are only interested in holidays and pensions. What a change that would make.