Sunday 17 December 2017

Salute lone TD Eamonn ...his expenses were zero

MEET the Dublin TD who files zero expenses -- compared to the tens of thousands of euros being claimed by his 165 colleagues.

While the public vents its anger at the TDs' €6m expenses pot, Labour's Eamonn Maloney has put his colleagues to shame.

Mr Maloney has recorded no expenses for travel and accommodation, saying he doesn't need to since he lives just a few miles from the Dail.

"His view is that since he lives in Dublin and doesn't have a constituency office he doesn't need expenses," a Labour spokesman said.

Mr Maloney even served for 12 years on South Dublin County Council without claiming a single cent in expenses. The news has put a spotlight on his party and Dail colleagues who are now under pressure to adopt the same mindset.

TDs based in the capital claimed close to €1m between them since March -- with many claiming more than €30,000 each.

Mr Maloney's socialist colleagues -- Joe Costello, Kevin Humphreys, Alex White and Aodhan O'Riordain -- shared more than €127,000 between them despite living just a few miles from the Dail.

Fine Gael's Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Paschal Donohue and Derek Keating also claimed well over €30,000 each.

And despite her constant piping in the Dail chamber, Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald received €31,865.51 in expenses --€321 for each day the Dail sat. All this is on top of the average TD's €92,672 salary.

Fine Gael TD Noel Harrington was paid the highest expenses by the taxpayer. The Cork South West deputy took home more than €53,000, claiming that his constituency base is so far from the Dail. "I live 400km from Leinster House. When I'm travelling, I'm half-way to Dublin and still in Co Cork. My expenses are vouched. I've chosen to have them vouched," he said.

"I run and manage two constituency offices that I have to pay rent for, and obviously there's travel and subsistence," he added.







Receipts

The scale of the TDs gravy train is sure to spark renewed calls for a full overhaul of the expenses system -- 56 TDs claimed unvouched expenses -- meaning they do not have to provide receipts.

Close to €600,000 was claimed by the deputies in December, with the total expenses bill since the new Dail sat in March coming to a €6m.

TDs are entitled to a "travel and accommodation allowance", which is greater depending on the distance between a politician's constituency and Leinster House.

And deputies also claim a "public representation allowance", which is used for organising meetings, printing leaflets and other similar costs.

TDs based in parts of Munster, Connacht and Ulster can claim over €5,000 a month. And deputies from the capital receive combined expenses of between €1,000-€3,000 per month.

hnews@herald.ie

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