TD expenses system 'is flawed'
The Public Accounts Committee has said the system of TDs expenses is flawed and should be independently review.
Committee chairman John McGuinness published a report on public sector allowances today. He said the committee was not happy with the existence of a series of unvouched expenses in the system.
“On the whole issue of administration of the system, it is flawed as it can lead to an overpayment of expense allowances. The system needs to be modified so that expenses incurred have a direct relationship to the payment,” he said.
Mr McGuinness highlighted the payment to TDs of one-twelfth of the annual travel and accommodation rate in August, when they are unlikely to go to the Dáil and require somewhere to stay. “Such payments are routinely published and as was outlined in the debate, it damages the body politic.”
He also said the value of allowances paid to deputies to meet costs generated by constituency-related activities had not been quantified since 1996. The committee recommended a study be done of those costs in order to give the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin guidance for setting the rate.
Mr McGuinness said the public service was “encumbered” by 1,100 allowances. He described the system as a “complex matrix” and categorised many allowances as “legacy” allowances that provided a large portion of the income of lower-paid public sector workers.
He said it was not the committee’s job to recommend certain allowances be discontinued.
The report describes the current system of public sector allowances as “not fit for purpose” and said it brought “discredit to the legitimate expectations of public servants for proper pay and recognition”.