A Fine Gael general election candidate has expressed her shock after Dail facilities were used to promote her campaign.
Councillor Anne Marie Dermody, who is one of three Fine Gael candidates in Dublin South West, denied that she personally used Oireachtas envelopes to send a letter to party members.
The letter, a copy of which has been seen by the Herald, appeals to members to become involved in her campaign.
It is understood that dozens of copies were distributed to members this week in Oireachtas envelopes - which is against the laws laid down by the Standards in Public Office ethics watchdog.
Contacted last night, Ms Dermody initially claimed to be completely unaware that taxpayers' money was used to promote her campaign.
She later suggested that her campaign team may have used the envelopes without her knowledge.
"I was floored by the call from you," Ms Dermody said.
"I didn't instruct anyone (to use Oireachtas envelopes). I'm really disappointed. I don't need this. Clearly I'm upsetting people by my campaign. I'm a newbie and people thought I'd be raw. Maybe some people want to play dirty, but that's not my style."
Ms Dermody said she will further investigate the issue but would not say whether she would make a refund to the taxpayer.
In her letter, Ms Dermody predicts the election will be on February 26, which is now a common held view within political circles.
"It's fair to say that while there has been no official announcement as to the date ... I'm focussed on the 26th of February next," she wrote.
Ms Dermody is one of three Fine Gael candidates contesting the five-seat Dublin South West constituency. Councillor Colm Brophy and party activist Karen Warren are also on the ticket.
It's the second time in the space of a few days that Ms Dermody has been embroiled in controversy. Last week, she called on women to vote for female candidates over male politicians.
Meath East TD Regina Doherty (FG) said the comments were the reason gender quotas have a "bad reputation".