SOCIALIST PARTY TD Clare Daly has said that she is glad that the issues Dáil expenses is being scrutinised as she defended her use of allowances to travel around the country urging people to boycott the household charge.
The Dublin North TD was speaking on TV3 last night amid ongoing controversy about her and two other United Left Alliance TDs’ use of travel allowances to pay for costs incurred while travelling around the country urging people to boycott the €100 tax.
Oireachtas officials said yesterday that they were seeking legal advice over whether or not Daly, Joe Higgins and Joan Collins will be required to repay these expenses.
Leinster House said that it had not foreseen the current situation arising where TDs would use the expenses to travel anywhere other than to and from the Dáil and around their constituencies.
Speaking on Tonight with Vincent Browne on TV3, Daly said: “I am delighted that the spotlight is on the expenses because they do need to be radically reformed.”
However the Socialist Party deputy said that she believed the timing of the issue being raised by the Irish Independent newspaper was a “spurious attempt” to “denigrate” people associated with the campaign to boycott household and water taxes.
“I am one of 166 TDs, the actual amount of expenses I claimed was bottom of the pile and I am the one on the front of the newspapers,” she told the programme.
As the Oireachtas seeks legal clarification, Daly defended her use of €10,142 for travel and accomodation out of €22,821 in total that she claimed in expenses.
“I was elected to the Dáil on a mandate of opposition to the unjust household tax and I have used my role to assist in building that campaign. I think that’s perfectly in line with the mandate I was elected to,” she said.
Later in the programme she said: “We’re quite satisfied that we’ve done nothing that we shouldn’t have done,” adding that it was obvious the situation wasn’t clear given authorities were seeking clarification on the matter.