Excessive spender John O'Donoghue has resigned as Speaker of Ireland's parliament

The Speaker of Ireland's parliament has become the first casualty of the massive recession and the anger over political spending.

John O'Donoghue was forced to resign after the opposition Labor Party put down a motion of no confidence. The Kerry-born speaker has now suffered a similar fate to what Britain's speaker Michael Martin suffered lately when he was forced to resign for the same reason.

In O'Donogue's case the steady drip drip of sensational allegations about massive overspending when he went abroad finally did him in.

The speaker or Ceann Comhairle was a well-known figure in America, especially as Minister for Tourism when he traveled frequently. A former lawyer, he was also previously Minister for Justice.

Unlike in America, the role of speaker is merely to act as an unbiased  judge and assure that all political sides get equal time in debates.

There were tales of limousine service between airport terminals, fabulous meals and dubious trips to major race meetings in Australia and France under the guise of political necessity. He would send his
state car down to Kerry from Dublin while he took a plane and have the driver collect him at the airport.

O'Donoghue claimed correctly that the trips had all been sanctioned by the government but it was not until freedom of information documents became available that the extent of the overspending became clear.

O'Donoghue also suffered from the greatly changed climate in Ireland. In the Celtic Tiger days, such trips hardly raised an eyebrow. Now that the country is on its knees and in hindsight such lavish spending is
seen as a a product of a greedy and out of control culture.

O'Donoghue also never helped his case by denying until it was too late that his behavior was in any way wrong.

In a country where unemployment is approaching record levels and the search for scapegoats for what has gone so badly wrong is filling the newspapers ever day, he never understood the depth of the feeling against him.

His departure leaves the government with a headache as to who will fill the post. Already his deputy has refused the job and the opposition will be insistent that it be another government member who fills it, thereby ensuring that the government continues with a narrow majority.