Fine Gael minister says Dara Murphy should pay back expenses

Fine Gael minister says Dara Murphy should pay back expenses
Outgoing TD Dara Murphy

A Fine Gael minister has suggested Dara Murphy should pay back Dáil expenses he claimed despite being largely absent over the past two years.

The outgoing Cork North Central TD insisted that he has been “compliant” with Leinster House rules around claiming full expenses and attendance of the Dáil.

Communications Minister Richard Burton said Mr Murphy now needs to show his expense claims were justifiable.

Mr Bruton said: “Now he needs to account for what claims he made and whether those claims were justifiable.

“I mean, a lot of questions have surfaced in the media and they do have to be answered, I think it’s important that the committee on members’ interests investigate this and thrash it out," Mr Bruton said.

People ultimately have to be accountable for what they do.

However, the minister of state at the Department of Finance, Patrick O’Donovan went further by suggesting that Mr Murphy should repay his expenses.

“I don’t know when he was in Leinster House or what he was doing in Leinster House,” said Mr O’Donovan.

“If there is any issue in relation to sailing close to the wind, then I think he should probably look to see is there reimbursement that can be done.”

Mr Murphy has been criticised for his absences from the Dáil since 2017 as he has been working for the European People’s Party (EPP) in Europe.

The TD still claimed his €96,000 annual salary, despite the fact that he was not in the Dáil or his constituency for much of the time.

Mr O’Donovan said the issue of TDs having jobs outside of Leinster House also needs to be looked at, as he “finds it hard” to understand how a TD could have a second job and still be able to clock into the Dáil for the required 120 days each year.

“I don’t know how anybody could be a representative of a constituency and have an outside interest based on the volume of time it requires to be a TD in the first place,” he said on Today With Sean O’Rourke.

Having a job outside the Houses of the Oireachtas is probably a bigger issue to discuss. I have hardly time to see my kids at the weekend so I don’t know how people have time to hold down second jobs to be honest about it, it’s probably a bigger issue.

The Irish Examiner revealed last week that Mr Murphy is set to step down as a TD to take up a high-profile job with the European Commission.

Fianna Fáil chief whip Michael Moynihan has written to the Oireachtas committee on member’s interests asking it to investigate Mr Murphy’s attendance.

He said: “We don’t see any signs to say that he was performing his duties as a TD in terms of Dáil debates and Dáil questions.”

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