Penalty points for politicians

THE controversy over TDs having penalty points scrapped took another turn this week when a newspaper claimed that local Fianna Fail deputy Seamus Kirk had said points could be quashed by just phoning the gardai.

THE controversy over TDs having penalty points scrapped took another turn this week when a newspaper claimed that local Fianna Fail deputy Seamus Kirk had said points could be quashed by just phoning the gardai.

The Irish Examiner heading read: “Just a matter of lifting phone to get points quashed”. And: “Former ceann comhairle cannot rule out having used TD exemption”.

But deputy Kirk who has represented Louth since 1982 has said the quotes have been taken totally out of context.

Deputy Kirk said if he incurred penalty points on his way to vote in the Dail, he would contact the gardai and state I was a member of the Dail and I had to meet a roll call. Then it would be up to the gardai to decide the issue.

He said the procedure was introduced to stop anyone who might want to prevent a TD from getting to a vote.

Which seems sinister enough, but then politics can be surrounded by stuff like that.

Deputy Kirk said the exemption was there not to create any kind of political elitism but to prevent this from happening.

“If the minister decided to change it I would have no difficulty with that,” deputy Kirk said. “And in the current situation that might be a good thing.”

Yes, at a time when many people are losing their faith in politics it might be a good idea to do away with all this Ming nonesense once and for all.

Road safety is the real issue.