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Oireachtas to seek legal advice over TDs using travel expenses

A statement said the Oireachtas “had never envisaged” that TDs would use the allowance for travelling to meetings about the household charge.

Joe Higgins, who has defended the use of travel expenses to attend meetings on the household charge
Joe Higgins, who has defended the use of travel expenses to attend meetings on the household charge
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE HOUSES OF the Oireachtas is seeking legal advice over TDs using travel allowances to travel around the country to attend household charge meetings.

In an unexpected statement this evening, a spokesperson said that the Oireachtas had never foreseen the current situation arising where TDs would use the expenses to travel anywhere other than to and from Leinster House and around their constituencies.

A number of Dublin-based TDs including Clare Daly, Joe Higgins and Joan Collins are believed to have used the allowance to travel to meetings which took place around the country to campaign against the household charge.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins has called the issue a “manufactured controversy”.

He cited a specific Oireachtas regulation to back up his claim that TDs are entitled to use the allowance for other travel. The regulation says that TD is entitled to claim for “travel expenses which the member is obliged to incur in the performance of his or her duties as a member of Dáil Éireann”.

The statement from the Houses of the Oireachtas Service read:

The Houses of the Oireachtas Service has confirmed that, in relation to Deputies, the Travel and Accommodation Allowance incorporates travel to and from Leinster House and the Deputy’s normal place of residence and any place in their constituency.

The Service had never envisaged that the Travel and Accommodation Allowance would allow Deputies to travel outside of their constituencies, except for journeys to and from Leinster House.

It is currently seeking legal advice to clarify the position.

Higgins slams ‘manufactured controversy’ over use of TDs expenses >

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