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Oireachtas seeks clarification over Pearse Doherty's use of €8k expenses

The Sinn Féin TD wants to put the money used for the employment of constituency workers towards the cost of a car in order to satisfy Oireachtas rules but it’s not clear if he can.

Pearse Doherty is Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson
Pearse Doherty is Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

HOUSES OF OIREACHTAS authorities are seeking clarification on whether or not Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty will be required to pay back €8,000 in travel expenses which he put towards hiring constituency workers.

Controversy arose last week when it was reported by the Irish Independent that both the Doherty and fellow Sinn Féin TD Padraig MacLochlainn had used surplus travels expenses for paying staff in their constituency.

In Doherty’s case he used €8,000 left over from €33,000 he received for travel and accommodation last year for the purposes of employing two part-time workers in his Donegal constituency.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson said that Doherty had been told by Oireachtas authorities on Friday that they would not have an issue if he retrospectively used the €8,000 to pay off the cost of buying a car recently.

However, a spokesperson for the Oireachtas told TheJournal.ie that they were still seeking clarification from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on whether or not this could be done.

Sinn Féin said that if its finance spokesperson has to pay back money then he will. Doherty did not immediately return a request for comment.

MacLochlainn is now examining his expenses with suggestions from Sinn Féin that he was told by Leinster House authorities that he could have been claiming money he hadn’t been.

The party said it does not expect its foreign affairs spokesperson to have to pay back any money but if he does then he will.

Read: ‘I use it to take someone off the dole’ – Doherty on hiring extra staff using excess expenses

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Hugh O'Connell

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