Oireachtas Christmas cards 'a waste of money', says Senator

A Labour Senator wants the Minister for Public Expenditure to examine the practice of Oireachtas members sending thousands of Christmas cards.

John Whelan is urging TDs and fellow Senators not to do it this year, because of the state of the national finances.

He said that if they want to send a message of goodwill they should support a good cause and buy charity cards instead.

Senator Whelan questioned what the point is in sending the usual cards out to taxpayers who have already paid for them.

"I think it's something that perhaps something that the Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin might have a look at when he's looking at, if you like, allowances and privileges and whatnot, and that’s one that certainly should go," he said.

"I think it's a waste of the taxpayers' money and it's wrong, and if we want to show some goodwill, and we want to keep in touch with people, I think we should support the charity cards and do it that way."

Fianna Fáil Senator Terry Leyden wasn't impressed, remarking that "Scrooge is alive and well", saying that the cards are a "tradition of Christmas".

He also pointed to the importance of the jobs being supported by the Christmas card industry: "I would urge people to use Christmas cards, because we need that employment."

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