Sir, The Government must think the electorate is extremely gullible, putting forward the proposal for funding of political parties while the Ben Dunne payment affair remains unsettled. The possibility also exists that other, so-far unpublicised payments from other individuals and organisations are waiting to be discovered and disclosed. Where is the integrity in rewarding politicians for soliciting and accepting payments of questionable probity by handing over public money to them?

TDs already get more than adequate salaries for the 90-odd days Dail work that they do in a year. The argument that the time they spend on local matters (doing what local politicians should be doing) is a valid use of their time, does not hold water. It is analogous to somebody in business or industry being promoted, e.g. from sales person to sales manager, but continuing to do the lower-level job also, just in case they are not able for the higher one.

Such a person would be very rapidly told to decide which job he wanted. Similarly, pleading job insecurity because they might not get re-elected does not meet with any sympathy from the increasing number of people who can only get short-term contract jobs, many of them zero-hour contracts. Before TDs start looking for more money from the taxpayer, they should deliver the increased productivity and value for money that successive National Agreements have achieved with workers in both public and private sectors.

If the Government really wants to re-establish politicians' credibility and integrity, it should set up an election ombudsman and an election fund. Any individual or organisation could then contribute openly to such a fund, which the ombudsman should distribute to candidates on an equal-shares basis. - Yours, etc,

Brickhill West, Cratloe, Co. Clare.