A south Dublin county councillor has written to all 60 members of Seanad Eireann asking them not to send him any more taxpayer-sponsored Christmas presents this year.
Tallaght-based Dermot Looney, (Labour), made the move after he received an unsolicited gift of a 2011 diary, complete with the official state harp logo, from Fine Gael senator Paul Coghlan earlier this month.
In previous years, he says he has received a book on local elections, a box of chocolates and even a tie from various senators.
All of the unsolicited gifts arrived in official Seanad envelopes, meaning the postage was paid for by the state from the allocation provided to senators for official business.
In his email to senators, Looney noted that as a councillor elected in June 2009, he was "very surprised last year to receive all sorts of
'gifts' in the post from senators from parties other than my own, presumably in the hope of securing my support in a future Seanad election. I received another such 'gift' today. In anticipation of receiving any more,
"I want to state that I do not wish to receive any further 'gifts' from any senator. In my view, they are a waste of taxpayers' money as well as a needless expense. The only impact that the receipt of such a 'gift' would have on my voting intention is negative. I would encourage any senator intending to spend their own money on sending Christmas cards or 'gifts'... to instead give the money to one of the many worthy causes which need it most."
Coghlan defended his decision to send the diary, which he described as "not a gift just a useful tool".
Looney said he received several responses from senators, including one from David Norris, who said he had received similar gifts, including CDs of rebel songs and pens, which were a "silly waste of money".