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This is how the government plans to tackle the politicians' allowance bill

Yesterday Minister Brendan Howlin introduced new legislation in the Dail which will keep closer checks on how TDs and Senators spend the money.

Image: Cian Ginty via Flickr

BETWEEN 2001 AND 2013, almost six million euro was paid to Dáil and Seanad members in allowances alone.

Last year, there was significant controversy over the €41,152 of an unvouched allowance paid to independent TDs, who are currently treated as the leaders of a one person party.

In response to this, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform published a new bill, which he introduced to Dáil yesterday.

If the bill is passed, it will mean:

  • A ten per cent cut in allowances for party leaders and independent politicians, yielding €840,000 a year in savings;
  • TDs will have to present a statement of expenditure explaining how they spent the money;
  • Any unspent money will have to be repaid;
  • The Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) will have a role in inspecting how allowances are spent, which is not the case for current senators and independent TDs;
  • Severance payments for current and future holders of certain offices will be abolished;

Commenting after the introduction of the bill yesterday, Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan said he also believes that penalties should apply to members who are found to be misusing the Leader’s Allowances.

“This could function by way of a claw back, and would act as a significant incentive to ensure taxpayers’ money is being spent appropriately,” he said.

Speaking yesterday in the Dáil, Howlin pointed out that salaries for the Taoiseach and ministers has already been cut by 40 and 35 per cent respectively.

Read: New law will abolish ministerial severance payments and cut politicians’ allowances>

Read: Report shows independent TDs get less state funding>

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