A former Fianna Fáil TD said he had to spend €440 in taxpayers’ money to post a copy of a research report to other politicians after being told he could not circulate it through Leinster House’s internal post.
Deputy Marc MacSharry also claimed at least one of the letters sent had later been opened by Oireachtas staff and that Ireland was “deteriorating into a Marxist Republic” in an email to the Ceann Comhairle.
The saga began last July when Mr MacSharry was trying to distribute a copy of a report he and his staff had authored on the impact of Covid-19 on mental health.
He said the work had taken six months to complete and that he had hoped to have a copy of it sent to every member of the Oireachtas.
However, after bringing the reports to Leinster House, he was told that such material could not be freely distributed without the permission of individual party whips.
In his letter to the Ceann Comhairle, he said: “I thought how ridiculous is that? Naturally, I would expect a code of conduct to prevent unscrupulous members seeking to raise money or sell tickets by way of the internal mailing system.
“But when it’s important research I thought in the interest of basic common sense, and the reality that those elected here have an actual mandate that maybe we might be allowed share research on mental health. Clearly not!”
He said it would have taken far too long to contact all the individual whips including representatives for “god knows how many other pop-up de facto parties”.
Mr MacSharry then detailed how he had gone to his office and affixed prepaid postage stamps from Leinster House stationary onto his “plain A4 envelopes”.
He said this had probably cost the taxpayer around €440 in postage, not to mention the costs involved in having the letters brought to a mailing centre … only to be immediately returned to Leinster House.
Mr MacSharry then said not to be “outdone by yesterday’s stupidity”, he discovered a green crate full of his letters at the enquiries reception of the building the following day.
He said they had not been distributed and wrote that he could see “one of them at least had been opened”.
When he asked an usher about this, Mr MacSharry said he was told: “No we have not opened any of them YET [his emphasis] Deputy, we have to wait for the head usher.”
Mr MacSharry said he had been nineteen years in the Oireachtas and had witnessed first-hand the “deterioration of the standing and treatment of members”.
He wrote: “The fact that our post is now being pre-read and subject to an approval process … to determine whether it can be delivered is a serious cause for concern to me.
“Sadly, I have believed for some time that as a nation we are well on our way to deteriorating into a Marxist Republic and now when one considers that members’ correspondence to other members must be subject [to] an approval process by Houses of the Oireachtas staff without my knowledge not to mention the wider nonsense described above is truly alarming.”
You can read the correspondence between Mr MacSharry and the Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl below.