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Politicians pay back €16,000 after expenses' audit

€16,079 worth of expenses were deemed to be ‘ineligible’.

Image: Photocall Ireland!

A RANDOM AUDIT into the expenses claimed by 12 members of the Oireachtas resulted in €16,000 being refunded to the State.

The report, carried out by Mazars for the Oireachtas Commission, found that five of the politicians selected for scrutiny were able to show receipts and relevant documentation within allowable expenditure categories.

However, seven other members were unable to provide the necessary documentation for €16,079 worth of expenditure, which was deemed ineligible. Those ineligible expenses claimed included sponsorship, photography and catering.

The expenses claims of Catherine Murphy, Tom Barry, Joe Carey, Paul Kehoe and Kathleen Lynch were all given a clean bill of health by the auditors.

While Junior Minister Alex White provided the correct receipts for more €20,000 paid to him, he was asked to refund €466.72.

Minister of State for Training and Sills Ciarán Cannon paid back €308.57 because of a “lack of evidence in the form of vouchers, receipts or bills to show that expenses were incurred in the relevant period to the amount of the allowance claimed”.

The same reason was given to Labour’s Ciarán Lynch for €1,316 worth of ineligible expenses. He had legitimate documentation for more than €22,000 vouched expenses.

Meath TD Ray Butler was asked to refund €4,923.69 and Fine Gael Senator Joe O’Reilly has handed back €1,400 of his €24,000 allowance.

The largest refund came from Fine Gael’s Derek Keating who paid back €7,571 of expenses claimed. He had correctly claimed for €13,420.96.

The smallest refund was from Susan O’Keeffe who refunded €91 to the State.

The money all relates to 2011.

Members of Dáil Eireann are allowed to expense for such things as office utilities, stationery, phone calls relating to the performance of their duties, newsletter distribution and hiring rooms for meetings.

Mazars recommended that guidance in relation to advertising, promotion and the exclusion of sponsorship and photography should be reiterated to politicians.

It noted that there was some confusion as “sundry items of refreshments, newspapers, water” are not allowable and it should be specified that this includes all catering, teas, coffees and biscuits.

READ: THE FULL REPORT FROM MAZARS

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