Somebody once observed that people don’t elect representatives, they sell their vote in exchange for a house, job or having a pot hole filled. So, once elected, of course TDs don’t have to give a moment’s thought to what people want them to do.
I spent my time as a Dáil secretary doing such work as getting mammy a hospital bed, getting grandad sheltered accommodation, getting daughter into local authority housing, moving family out of flat into house, querying social welfare claims, and wow, writing the odd speech for the T.D. when he managed to get two minutes of time allocated in the Chamber.
Hundreds of phone calls a day are about all of the above. No one rang, wrote, in latter days, emailed about national issues. 6 filing cabinets was the norm in each office per T.D. Storage boxes were used for Dáil contributions, or P.Q.s.
Until the whole system is changed, it will go on forever. Who has the nerve to change the system? I don’t know.
The very last case I dealt with in that job was a man who rang to say he had been waiting for the corporation to put a toilet chain on his cistern because the old one had broken, and he had been waiting for 3 weeks. On my way home, I went into McGovern’s in Cork Street, bought a toilet chain for €2, brought it round to the elderly man’s ancient flat. Went in, climbed up on toilet, took broken chain down and slipped new one on. The man was nearly kissing my feet as I made my escape. It helped me doing that because it reinforced for me that I had total burn-out and I could not stand the master/serf syndrome that pervades this country.
Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental