29 November 2007 Edition

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Mála Poist

Taoiseach’s pay rise

A chara,
Having been reduced to tears by Mr Ahern’s Dobson interview last year, I pity “poverty-stricken” Bertie having to exist on a mere €310,000 (+ expenses, driver, jet, make-up, etc) which he has been forced to accept. I feel like organising a whip-around, a dig-out AND a soft loan for him. And I will be rushing to accept his oh-so-credible advice on wage restraint, just as we all did with Mr Haughey’s similar advice 20 years ago.
In response to Bertie’s invitation to put other leaders’ arrangements up front, here goes:
€310,000 Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
€279,000 US President George Bush
€270,000 Irish Tanaiste Brian Cowen
€268,000 UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown
€261,000 German Prime Minister Angela Merkel
€240,000 Irish Cabinet Ministers
€240,000 French Prime Minister Francois Fillon
€210,000 Australian Prime Minister John Howard
€192,000 Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt
€123,000 Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende
€122,000 Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg [Norway has same population as Ireland]
€49,500 Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski
The same “independent” process that so deservedly rewarded our leaders also determined that the chief executive of the HSE Brendan Drumm is currently being overpaid to the tune of €5,7000 per annum when compared to an equivalent position in the private sector. Luckily that one isn’t mandatory!
And those greedy foreign leaders have prolonged holidays, unlike Mr Ahern, who spends a massive 1.5 days in the Dáil for almost 20 weeks per year. Most of the rest of the time he has to undertake onerous tasks like opening pubs, off-licenses and private hospitals, never mind that oul “centres of excellence” nonsense.
Sinn Féin Dublin City, Councillor.



A chara,
I wish to thank you and your staff for the great article and tributes An Phoblacht 8 November to my late father, Óglach Martin Meehan.
These were much appreciated by our family as was the help and support from his comrades in Sinn Féin and Óglaigh Na hÉireann, particularly the graveside oration by Gerry Adams MP
Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.
Is mise,
Mairtin Óg Meehan,


Irish media and Saudi Arabia

A chara,
A gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia was recently sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail. The rape victim was subjected to this further torture and humiliation for violating laws on segregation of the sexes in that despotic state. Her crime? She was accused of being in an unrelated man’s car at the time of the rape attack!
This whole sick episode raises certain questions about the Irish media’s coverage of international news. Week after week sections of the Irish media bang on and on about the injustices in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. This story is pursued with what can only be described as a campaigning zeal by the likes of RTÉ’s Pat Kenny Radio Show. This is the same radio show that recently featured a representative promoting holidays in Saudi Arabia, selling that despotic state as the ‘in’ place for Irish holidaymakers to visit.
So what is the difference between Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia that could justify this disparity of approach? Well, Saudi Arabia is a key political ally of the US, Britain and the West in general while Zimbabwe is not
As usual, the Irish media slavishly follows an agenda set by our former colonial masters, Britain and their imperialist friends across the Atlantic.
Baile Átha Cliath 3.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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