Senators’ expenses report a distortion’

‘What Senators are simply trying to do is have a properly vouched system’

A spokesman for the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Paddy Burke, said a submission on behalf of Senators about how expenses should be vouched for had made no request for additional expenses. He said the submission by the Seanad Committee of Procedure and Privileges (CPP) had made the case that Senators should be allowed to claim their office rental costs out of existing allowances.

A spokesman for the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Paddy Burke, said a submission on behalf of Senators about how expenses should be vouched for had made no request for additional expenses. He said the submission by the Seanad Committee of Procedure and Privileges (CPP) had made the case that Senators should be allowed to claim their office rental costs out of existing allowances.

Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 01:00


A report that Senators are seeking extra expenses to run constituency offices has been dismissed as “a complete distortion” of the position.

A spokesman for the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Paddy Burke, said a submission on behalf of Senators about how expenses should be vouched for had made no request for additional expenses. He said the submission by the Seanad Committee of Procedure and Privileges (CPP) had made the case that Senators should be allowed to claim their office rental costs out of existing allowances.

“This is not a claim for a new expense and it is not for constituency office. What Senators are simply trying to do is have a properly vouched system for their current office arrangements outside Leinster House,” said the spokesman.


Submissions
The CPP of the Seanad and the Dáil have recently made submissions to Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin on how changes in the system of vouched expenses should be implemented.

Fine Gael TD Simon Harris, who issued a statement yesterday saying the claim by Senators was “farcical and demonstrates how dysfunctional the second chamber is”, accepted that the Senators are not seeking a new allowance. However, he insisted that the claim for an office allowance confirmed that the majority of Senators wanted to be in the Dáil.

“A constituency office allowance might enable Senators to better ready themselves for a general election contest, and to potentially make the transition, as Shane Ross TD has done, to move to Dáil Éireann, but this should not be done at the expense of the taxpayer,” he said.