ONE IN FIVE TDs in the 31st Dáil claimed more than €50,000 in expenses in 2011 according to new figures from the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The highest claimant was Fine Gael TD Noel Harrington from Cork South West. He was given over €53,000 in expenses since last February’s general election.
All of the TDs who received over €50,000 live outside of Dublin. The figures cover the period from polling day in the general election on 25 February through to 31 December 2011.
Fine Gael TDs make up 14 of the 34 Dáil members who received more than €50,000. Eight are from Fianna Fáil, six are Labour, five are Sinn Féin and one is Independent.
All 34 live outside of Leinster and are entitled to claim higher amounts because of the costs involved in travelling to the Dáil in Dublin’s city centre.
Dáil members are able to claim a travel and accommodation allowance to cover the cost of travel to and from Leinster House, as well as accommodation in Dublin if necessary. TDs – but not Ministers – can also claim for constituency travel. Instead, Ministers and Ministers of State are allowed to claim their travel expenses from their individual departments – which explains why they appear towards the lower end of the Oireachtas expenses list.
All of the highest claimants live at least 180 kilometres away from Dublin. Noel Harrington, who represents Cork South West, lives more than 360km away from Leinster House – the farthest of any TD.
Under a new system introduced in the wake of various expenses scandals, TDs can choose each year whether they want to claim expenses on a vouched or unvouched basis. TDs who choose to vouch for their expenses must submit receipts to show how they spent the money and are entitled to a higher rate of expenses.
All of the TDs with the highest amount of claims vouch for their expenses.
The 34 TDs who claimed over €50,000 in expenses last year:
1. Noel Harrington (FG) Cork South West: €53,714.95
2=Arthur Spring (Lab) Kerry North/West Limerick: €52,447.09
2=Jim Daly (FG) Cork South West: €52,477.09
3=Michael Moynihan (FF) Cork North West: €51,808.09
3=Joe McHugh (FG) Donegal North East: €51,808.09
3=Charlie McConalogue (FF) Donegal North East: €51,808.09
3=Pearse Doherty (SF) Donegal South West: €51,808.09
3=Áine Collins (FG) Cork North West: €51,808.09
4=David Stanton (FG) Cork East: €51,179.23
4=Jonathan O’Brien (SF) Cork North Central: €51,179.23
4=Dara Murphy (FG) Cork North Central: €51,179.23
4=Michelle Mulherin (FG) Mayo: €51,179.23
4=Michael McGrath (FF) Cork South Central: €51,179.23
4=Micheál Martin (FF) Cork South Central: €51,179.23
4=Ciarán Lynch (Lab) Cork South Central: €51,179.23
4=Joe Carey (FG) Clare: €51,179.23
4=Pat Breen (FG) Clare: €51,179.23
5. Pádraig Mac Lochlainn (SF) Donegal North East: €51,174.19
6. Jerry Buttimer (FG) Cork South Central: €50,645.30
7=Brian Walsh (FG) Galway West: €50,540.23
7=Patrick O’Donovan (FG) Limerick: €50,540.23
7=Colm Keaveney (Lab) Galway East: €50,540.23
7=Sean Kyne (FG) Galway West: €50,540.23
7=Sandra McLellan (SF) Cork East: €50,540.23
7=Tony McLoughlin (FG) Sligo North Leitrim €50,540.23
7=Tom Barry (FG) Cork East: €50,540.23
7=Timmy Dooley (FF) Clare: €50,529.23
8=Niall Collins (FF) Limerick: €50,225.80
8=Michael Colreavy (SF) Sligo North Leitrim €50,225.80
8=Ciara Conway (Lab) Waterford: €50,225.80
8=Mattie McGrath (Ind) Tipperary South: €50,225.80
8=Michael McNamara (Lab) Clare: €50,225.80
8=Derek Nolan (Lab) Galway West: €50,225.80
8=Willie O’Dea (FF) Limerick City: €50,225.80