The decision of Fingal County Council officials to hire a photographer and have the photos taken of the 24 newly elected or re-elected Fingal County Councillors last year and then have the photos subsequently printed and framed at a cost of €9,471 is an indefensible extravagance in which the councillors themselves were entirely unwitting participants.
The location of the photo shoot, despite the impression Independent News and Media intended giving in their article, did not feature in the overall cost, as Newbridge House is owned by the public.
Similar photo shoots in the past for the Council website and Council publications were performed by a Council employee who retired in 2008 and was not replaced because of the recruitment embargo.
Had any Socialist Party representative been aware of the cost at the time, they would have objected and insisted that the shoot be performed by Council staff.
The cost itself beggars belief and requires answers from whoever made the decision to outsource this task.
However, rather than focusing on the plain facts of this story, Independent News and Media have sought to single out the three Socialist Party councillors participation in the photo shoot and imply some sort of culpability on their part for the subsequent cost of the exercise of which they were not aware.
This comes the day after Michael O’Doherty wrote an ill-informed and racist column in the Evening Herald attacking Joe Higgins MEP for his support for striking French workers and subjecting French people in general to a demeaning racial stereotype.
The Socialist Party stands over the records of all its elected representatives who are peerless fighters for working people and the unemployed and uniquely none of whom financially gain from the elected positions they hold.
The attacks upon our representatives by a newspaper group with an historical anti-union and anti-socialist pedigree and owned by a multi-millionaire tax exile are only to be expected. The substance of those attacks is pathetic.
In the context of the real political corruption and catastrophic decision made by the political, property and banking establishment this is a crude attempt to paint the Socialist Party as “the same as the rest”. It will not work.