Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has released the following statement regarding the use of his travel expenses.
The Donegal South West TD said:
“Since 2009 I have published my accounts on the Web. I have at all-times been up-front that I use a portion of my wages (over €19,000) and a portion of money that was paid to me for expenses to employ additional staff in my Donegal offices. I am a registered employer with the revenue commissioner and my employees enjoy all of their statutory entitlements. Last week an issue arose as to whether this was allowed. I have always stated that if I breeched any rules that I would rectify that.
“Over the past week I have met with Oireachtas officials on a number of occasions to discuss my travel and accommodation allowance.
“I have stated on my website that the cost of traveling to and from Dublin and throughout my constituency was €11,273.67 in 2011. This cost was calculated factoring in the cost of the Diesel and toll charges only.
“The representatives have informed me that in order to calculate and certify the travel expenditure that I incur that I am entitled to take into account a number of travel cost factors besides fuel costs. These vehicle related expenditure include Diesel, Oil, Tyres, Maintenance, Insurance costs, Car tax, Driving licence, AA membership, and the cost of replacing the car i.e. depreciation.
“They have informed me that these items are incorporated into the civil service mileage rate on which the Standard Travel Allowance is based. The appropriate rates are 95.05 cent for the first 4000 miles and 45.79 cent thereafter.
“The mileage that I incurred in 2011 was in excess of 45,000 miles which if applied to the rate that underpins the TAA scheme would be in excess of the portion of the Standard TAA allowance which relates to travel that was paid to me for these purposes in 2011 and when added to the cost of accommodation that I incurred during that same period which was €13,005.64 would be in excess of the total allowance that I received under the TAA scheme.
“I have provided all of this information to the Oireachtas officials and they have confirmed to me in writing today that I haven’t breached any regulations and have stated to me that ‘the regulations have been complied with’.
“I again want to restate my position that the payment of expenses to TD and Senators should be fully vouched and call on the government to introduce such a scheme.”