State should pay for ministerial spouses’ trips in some cases, says PAC chair

Fellow PAC member Simon Harris says work of public spending body cannot be undermined

John McGuinness TD, chairman of the  Public Accounts Committee said family, personal and health reasons could require ministerial partners having their trips abroad funded by State. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

John McGuinness TD, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee said family, personal and health reasons could require ministerial partners having their trips abroad funded by State. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee has said the State should pay for spouses to join ministers on trips away in some cases.

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, who chairs the Dáil’s public spending body, said on a case by case basis, depending on family, personal and health reasons, the trips should be paid for.

Mr McGuinness was speaking on RTÉ radio this morning after it was revealed he had asked to be allowed to bring his wife on business-related trips abroad when he was a junior minister, offering to pay for her himself. However, she did not accompany him on any official trip.

“A case could be made and the minister should pay, but that there may be cases and circumstances where the State might pay,” he said.

“There are circumstances that should be considered when ministers are away on State business for long periods of time and where they believe that their wife should travel, they should pay. There may be other circumstances where the minister can then make a case, within a new set of guidelines, where he believes the State should pay.”

Responding to the claims, Fine Gael TD Simon Harris, who is a member of the committee, tweeted that the PAC’s credibility cannot be undermined. “PAC has a huge & important body of work to do. The credibility of the Committee cannot be undermined and the Chairman needs to consider that,” he tweeted.

Also speaking on RTÉ radio, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Alan Kelly said he was not aware of any incidents where a wife or husband of a minister would travel alongside them and have the State pay for it.

He also called Mr McGuinness’s remarks “bizarre”.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.