Dara Murphy ‘has to explain’ expenses, says Fine Gael Minister

Damien English responds to Peter McVerry ‘Irish Times’ letter querying actions of departing TD

Former minister of State Dara Murphy has for the past two years been based in Brussels, where he has had a full-time paid position as the European People’s Party’s director of elections for most of that time. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Former minister of State Dara Murphy has for the past two years been based in Brussels, where he has had a full-time paid position as the European People’s Party’s director of elections for most of that time. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

Departing TD Dara Murphy should explain “why he feels entitled” to keep expenses he claimed in the Dáil while working in Brussels, fellow Fine Gael deputy and Minister of State Damien English has said.

Mr English was asked about a letter published in The The Irish Times from Fr Peter McVerry on Tuesday in which the social justice campaigner juxtaposed Mr Murphy’s experience with that of a number of homeless people with whom he had worked.

“I haven’t had a chance to meet Dara Murphy, I will today. I will find out what way or how he came to log in for expenses, was it to do with his job as a TD. I’m told his office was open, he was providing a service, he was still doing his job as a TD. But I will meet him and discuss that with him,” Mr English said.

“I do believe he has to explain and he will explain whether the money was put to good use because that expenses is to run your office, run your service and provide a service to the people you represent which I believe he was still doing.”

Pressed by broadcaster Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ radio to respond to Fr McVerry’s letter, Mr English said: “I don’t know if Fr McVerry understands what Dara Murphy has or has not done but I’m sure they can have that conversation.”

Asked whether Mr Murphy should give back the expenses he claimed, Mr English said: “Dara Murphy has to explain why he feels he’s entitled to keep the expenses.”

Mr Murphy is set to resign his Dáil seat, possibly later this week, and become the “cabinet expert” for Bulgarian commissioner Mariya Gabriel, with an expected annual salary of €150,000.

A Dáil committee which has been asked to investigate a complaint about Mr Murphy’s Dáil attendance record will be unable to do so once the Cork North Central deputy resigns his position.

The former minister of State has for the past two years been based in Brussels, where he has had a full-time paid position as the European People’s Party’s director of elections for most of that time.

Mr Murphy is expected to be present for the vote of confidence in Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy in the Dáil on Tuesday.