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Thursday 30 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Niall Carson/PA Wire Ruairí Quinn returned almost €15,000 in unused expenses allowances for 2010 - the highest of any TD from last year.
# Scruples
TDs voluntarily return €120,000 in unused expenses
Ministers Ruairi Quinn and Jimmy Deenihan are among those who returned expenses allowances they never used.

TWO CURRENT MINISTERS are among a series of over 30 TDs who returned over €120,000 in expenses they were paid in 2010 – because they simply hadn’t spent all the money they were given.

Oireachtas records picked up on by today’s Irish Daily Mail show that 32 TDs opted to €120,914 in expenses they received for the 2010 calendar year – because they hadn’t spent all of the cash advanced to them.

TDs choose on an annual basis whether they will claim expenses on a vouched or unvouched basis – with those who vouch for their expenses, by submitting receipts and allowing them to be audited, paid a higher rate.

Most of the TDs who returned expenses for 2010 claim their payments under the unvouched system – and returned their payments simply because the allowances they were given covered more than the expenses they ran up.

The current Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, returned the highest amount, refunding €14,970.68 to the Oireachtas in unused expenses. Former environment minister John Gormley was next, refunding €12,389.96.

The former tourism minister Jim McDaid, who quit as a TD in November 2010, refunded €12,197 in expenses – having enjoyed one of the worst attendance records of last year, clocking in for just 38 days last year.

Other high refunds came from Noel Ahern (€9,110.02), Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (€8,219.42), Olwyn Enright (€7,488.59) and then-minister Tony Killeen (€6,666.70).

Former junior minister Ciarán Cuffe refunded €5,877.01 while Willie O’Dea, who also had a miserable attendance record last year, gave back €5,339.38. Current arts minister Jimmy Deenihan refunded exactly €5,000.

Pearse Doherty – who was only a member of the Dáil for five weeks of last year – refunded €217 for expenses he did not incur.

The refunds are a relative drop in the ocean, however – as the same records show that TDs received over €5.7m in expenses and allowances for the ten months between March and December, when the new expenses regime was in effect.

The allowances do not include travel and accommodation expenses incurred by ministers, junior ministers and office holders in the course of their official duties.

Read the Oireachtas allowance records in full (PDF) >

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