Tag Archives: td expenses

frankorourkecelbridgeleinster

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.…”

How an extra 500 metres can mean an additional €16,000-a-year in the ridiculous world of Irish political expenses (Ken Foxe)

Wolfe2

Anti-corruption campaigner John Wolfe.

You can mock him, or try to block him.

But you cannot stop him.

It’s been three years since [John] Wolfe began his quest to look into the travel expenses of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

First, through a Freedom of Information request, Wolfe learnt that Ahern was claiming €1,000 in travel expenses each month for commuting to the Dáil after stepping down as Taoiseach. But as the former Taoiseach, he also benefited from the use of a state car whenever he wanted.

In effect, Wolfe believes claiming these expenses while also using a state car funded by the taxpayer amounted to fraud. He passed this information to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, the Garda Commissioner and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) back in 2013.

In court, he said that under Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011, he had an obligation to do so. But a year later, DPP Claire Loftus said she would not be prosecuting Ahern as there was no evidence he had done anything wrong.

At the time, Ahern told the Sunday Independent that his expense claims were all legal and above board.

You might have expected Wolfe to stop then.

Instead, he tried to find out if these bodies had investigated his complaint, but struggled to get any information. Through correspondence with the fraud squad, he discovered the incident hadn’t even been recorded on the Gardaí’s Pulse system.

Frustrated, he felt his complaint wasn’t being taken seriously, so he applied for a judicial review, citing the fraud squad, the DPP and the Garda Commissioner.

When the High Court heard the case last December, it decided against granting this, because the judge said it was too late to make the application.

On Monday, he appealed this decision….[more at link below]

 

John Wolfe Is On A Mission To Tackle TDs’ Expenses (Louisa McGrath, Dublin Inquirer)

Previously: More Privacy

Dublin Inquirer on Broadsheet.ie

Pic: Louisa McGrath for Dublin Inquirer