From top: Frank O’Rourke TD; Mr O’Rourke’s journey from Celbridge, Co Kildare to Leinster House, Dublin 2 according to Google Maps.
Intrepid expenses hound Ken Foxe writes:
A Newly-elected TD is being paid an extra €16,000-a-year in tax-free expenses because his drive to work is 500 metres above the threshold for politicians that live close to the Dáil.
Fianna Fáil’s Frank O’Rourke, who was elected in the Kildare North constituency, is being paid travel and accommodation expenses of more than €2,100 per month.
Under current rules, TDs who live less than 25 kilometres from the Dáil are paid €9,000 a year tax-free to cover their travel costs to work, and also for travel within their constituency.
However, once they live above a threshold of 25 kilometres – their rate of payment makes a dramatic jump of more than 180 per cent.
In the claim form submitted by Mr O’Rourke to authorities at Leinster House, he has said the distance that he must travel to the Dáil each day is exactly 25.5 kilometres.
However, when the trip from his home to Leinster House is entered into Google Maps, the distance is said to be 24 kilometres.
Despite that, Mr O’Rourke is correct and when the trip was measured independently, it came in at just above 25 kilometres.
Mr O’Rourke said:
“I was asked for the distance. I set the clock on my car and on three occasions and following the only way I can go – no long way or manipulation of it whatsoever, I got 25.5 kilometres and on another day I got 26. I averaged it at 25.5 kilometres.
“If it was 22, it would have gone down [as that]. I’m not into that sort of carry-on or stuff whatsoever.…”