Anti-Bertie stickers distributed in Dublin

 

A group campaigning against the Taoiseach's pay increase says it has begun distributing 200,000 anti-Bertie Ahern stickers to members of the public.

Kevin Cotter, a 47-year-old translator who has organised the "Far Too Much Bertie" campaign, said people were "very receptive" to the stickers when the first batch were distributed in Dublin on Saturday evening.

"The response was wonderful on the whole. Taxi-drivers in particular were very enthusiastic about taking them for their customers."

Mr Cotter claimed he was reflecting widespread indignation among the public about the "preposterous" €38,000 pay increase awarded to Mr Ahern and said he was also prompted to take action by the lack of response from other politicians and trade union leaders.

He denied that his initiative was anti-Fianna Fáil, describing it as "anti-politics in general".

"Our grouping has no initiative. The message is quite clear; just what appears on the sticker." Mr Cotter, who lives most of the year in Barcelona, said he came home for a family wedding last month and was outraged when news of the ministerial pay increases emerged.

He tried to make his views known at the Fianna Fáil constituency office in Dublin South-East but this was closed, so he wrote the "Far Too Much Bertie" slogan in marker on the window.

Friends then said the slogan was a good one and helped him to design, print and distribute the stickers at a cost of under €1,000. Mr Cotter said he paid the bill.

Mr Cotter said neither he nor the handful of friends involved were members of any political party, although he was involved in community politics and anti-war campaigns in Spain.

Under the Electoral Act, groups involved in political campaigns are required to register with the Standards in Public Office Commission if they receive donations worth over €127.

Mr Cotter said he was unaware of this requirement and suggested it would be "very extreme and anti-democratic" to apply this legislation to his campaign.