‘The responsibility of those elected to Dail is to find a way to run the country’
“If the water charges are the only obstacle to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael coming to an agreement, they should defer these charges for the next few years and put it to the people in a referendum in tandem with the next County Council elections.” That’s according to Bernie O’Hara, Sligo – Leitrim Independent candidate in the 2016 General Election.
“Any party or independent who want to promote a situation, where their role is solely that of opposition should never be elected again. Every person elected should have a role in responsibly governing and leading the country. To come back to the electorate and ask us to vote for a party that will have an overall majority is to say we voted wrong the last time. In actual fact what is indicates is that the people we elected are NOT capable of providing a government based on the wishes of the people.
“A minority government provides the perfect opportunity for democracy to work. Each elected representative should have a role in making this happen. There are many cross party committees in the Dail that discuss many issues. Every person elected should be involved in at least one of these groups. Each group should be given various sectors in the public service to identify all the areas where funds are being wasted. They should put together a plan to stop the waste and allocate the saved money to improve the services in the different departments. They would then bring this to the Dail and have it voted on. This would make it very easy to have the budget agreed on by the Dail.
“There are many obvious departments where savings can be made :
“The Health service as it is at the moment can cause a person to wait a year or longer for treatment in a hospital costing in the region of €30,000 in social welfare payments, with the amount of people who go through the hospital services each year this runs into hundreds of millions. If this money was diverted to the health services we would have a first class health service, there would be no waiting lists which would mean people would get back to work quicker saving millions on social welfare payments.
“As it stands at the moment a self employed person will not receive unemployment benefit if their business fails or receive health benefits if they are sick. This is deterring many people from starting their own business. If this situation was amended many more people would engage in starting their own business. This again would save the taxpayer on unemployment benefits and also generate revenue through the new business. This could be offered immediately to new businesses starting and rolled out to all self employed over a three year period.
“Many of the homeless are families where their jobs have been lost. These families with a mortgage should be entitled to a payment similar to rent allowance paid to people in rented accommodation. An arrangement should be made with the banks who have already been bailed out to accept this as payment on their mortgage until such time as they find employment. This would save millions for the taxpayer on temporary accommodation for families who have lost their homes. It would also provide a protection for vunerable families.
“This is also an opportunity for those elected , who want the salaries of Dail deputies reduced, to have this implemented.
“These are just some of the ways these committees could improve services while at the same time saving money – together with, generating revenue from increased employment and involving all elected representatives in the running of the country.
“The national debt is the biggest burden on the people of this country. As with any lending institution the IMF would look favourably on a plan that sees the country being run in an efficient way. Many would say Bertie Ahern is one of the main culprits in this debt. He is also seen by many all over the world as one of the greatest negotiators. As a recipient of a huge pension from the taxpayer, He should be asked to earn that money and negotiate a reduction on that debt.
“Those elected representatives who say this cannot work, don’t want it to work. It is a lot easier to sit on the fence and shout no. This is an opportunity for reform of the Dail that should not be lost. You the elected representatives owe it to the people.”