TD Murphy demands expenses reform

INDEPENDENT TD Catherine Murphy has called for a reform of the Dail expenses system as it emerged that the 7 Dail deputies representing County Kildare claimed a total of E308,000 in expenses alone in 2012.

INDEPENDENT TD Catherine Murphy has called for a reform of the Dail expenses system as it emerged that the 7 Dail deputies representing County Kildare claimed a total of E308,000 in expenses alone in 2012.

This money was on top of their of their TDs’ salary of almost E93,000 each.

The money was paid out for travel and office allowances.

The biggest claimants were Fine Gael TDs Anthony Lawlor (Kildare North) and poll topper Martin Heydon (Kildare North).

Each pocketed a total of E53,806.08 for the year.

The other Fine Gael deputy Bernard Durkan received E43,106.04 in expenses during 2012.

Dep. Durkan’s Maynooth base is less than 18 miles from Leinster House as is Kill, where Dep. Lawlor lives.

Independent TD Catherine Murphy claimed a relatively modest E25,700.04 – less than half the amount paid out to Deps. Lawlor and Heydon.

Deputy Sean O Feargahil (Kildare South), the only Fianna Fail TD elected in County Kildare claimed E43,106.04 as did Kildare North’s sole Labour representative Emmet Stagg.

Dep. Jack Wall (Kildare South), once one of the highest expenses claimants, received a total of E45,350.04 in expenses during 2012.

Overall, TDs received E7.2m in expenses for 2012.

The only exception was Eamonn Maloney, a Labour TD representing Dublin South West, who claimed nothing.

According to website The Journal, Dep. Brennan has not claimed expenses since being elected, pointing out that he had previously been on the dole and his salary can cover his expenses.

Dep. Catherine Murphy has advocated a reform of of the “excessive and inequitable politician expenses systes in Irish politics.”

Dep. Murphy said if this happens there would be massive savings to the exchequer.

“I live in Kildare, within commuting distance of Leinster House so I see no need for me to avail of the substantial travel allowance awarded to me and on that basis I refuse to claim it. There are many other examples of excessive and downright ludicrous expenses that can be reformed or indeed eliminated,” she added. She also said the figures released does not “sufficiently detail” the excesses in the system because no mention is made of the “hidden expenses” claimed by “large party machines.”

Separately, a random audit of expenses claimed need a dozen members of the Oireachtas resulted in E16,000 being refunded to the State. Deputy Murphy and three others were given a clean bill of health by the independent auditors.

- Paul O’Meara