A Waterford Fine Gael senator says he supports his party’s plans to reform the Seanad as a means of cutting the cost of central government.

Backing proposals to chop “jobs for the boys” and trim the general “gravy train”, Paudie Coffey says his leader Enda Kenny is right to demand the axing of eight junior ministers and 10 Oireachtas committees.

Fine Gael wants to do away with the “fat allowances” paid to chairs of Oireachtas committees (€20,000) on top of their Dáil salaries.

With the country gripped by crisis, the Portlaw man says, “Politicians should regard Dáil work as an honour and an opportunity to serve their country, not another chance to dip into the taxpayer’s pocket.”

He welcomed Mr Kenny’s plan to “strengthen” the Seanad by making a third of the 60 senators directly elected by the public for five-year terms at the same time as MEPs.

As well as being cost-effective, “this also opens the way for more independent voices to permeate our national parliament.”

However, many feel the FG proposals don’t go far enough, and that politicians’ ‘basic’ pay and bumper expenses should be slashed.