Research published by the ESRI last week has revealed that individuals whose names do not have a traditional Irish identity are twice as unlikely to be called for a job interview when they respond to a job advertisement, even if their qualities and qualifications match in all other respects those of a native respondent.
Name recognition is also an important consideration in politics. Sometimes it is the very uniqueness of a name that is important. Take the US presidency, for example. How many times have you hear the name Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Obama being borne by anyone other than His Excellency, the President of the United States? Mhoosajee Bhamjee was also a mould breaker when he won a Labour seat in Clare in the 1992 landslide election for that party. He is also the only Muslim elected to the national parliament.
Name differentiation can help to differentiate an incumbent from an aspirant in the voters mind but it can also cause political inbreeding, inertia and all of the infertile appalling consequences that ensue from this. “if there is a problem it is attributable to something far away”
It will cost over €137 million to run the Leinster House enterprise in 2009 – 44% more than it did just five years ago borne by the same headcount of politicians. There is no question of our democracy being run on a shoestring but it is important to maintain a sense of perspective and insight.
There are a total of 226 members in the two Houses. The annual overhead is just shy of €607,000 per member, – excellent value when considered as being merely one quarter of the 2008 remuneration of the abundantly superannuated Mr. Michael Fingleton, whose self-indulged, loss-making, speculators’ enterprise the taxpayer is now expected to bail out!
Apart from their own salaries, which cost €22.7 million, a further €18.7 million will be spent on secretarial support. A sum of €6.4 million is spent on travel which works out as an average of almost €44,000 per Dáil Deputy and €31.500 per Senator.
There are no fewer than 92 members of the 30th Dáil who bear the same surname since the first Dáil met on 19 January 1919 and the first Seaned met on 11 December 1922.
Many are blood relatives or descendants but some bearing the same surname have no direct relationship to each other. There are others who are related to each other but do not share a similar surname.
The surname among the 20 most popular Irish surnames that has had no bearer in the Houses of the Oireachtas is the name Murray.
There have been 20 Ryans’, 16 Lynches, 16 Byrnes’ and 14 O’Sullivans’ who have represented the nation.
There have also been 11 Kennedys’, 10 O’Reilly’s, 10 O’Briens’, 9 Collins, 9 Doyles’, 9 O’Connors’ and 9 Higgins’.
The presence of Bradys’, Burkes’, Hogans’ and Hayes’ was made 8 clan members.
The remaining surnames with multiple appearances in the Oireachtas are: