TDs defend €1,200 extra expenses on foreign trip

Two TDs who each claimed over €1,200 after hotel, dinner, and breakfast costs were deducted during a five-day trip to Switzerland, have defended the spending levels, saying Oireachtas rules allow them to receive the money.

Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher and Tom Neville

Fine Gael TD Tom Neville and Fianna Fáil TD Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher, who is also the Dáil’s leas ceann comhairle, rejected criticism of the costs after it emerged they each claimed €214 a day in extra expenses during the April trip to Geneva.

Freedom of Information documents published by show that while travelling to the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly between April 24 and 29, Mr Neville and Mr Gallagher claimed €214 a day.

They were entitled to claim up to €248 a day before a daily rate of €34 for a hotel breakfast and €68 for an ambassador’s dinner was deducted.

When miscellaneous costs were added, the €214 daily expense — which did not include the cost of hotels or travel to and from Switzerland — came to a five-day figure of €1,200 for Mr Neville and €1,220 for Mr Gallagher.

Both TDs yesterday defended the costs and declined to explain what the money was spent on.

“I was sent as an Oireachtas representative to the Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly and submitted the claim through the official process as advised,” said Mr Neville.

Mr Gallagher said: “I submitted [the claim] on the basis of Department of Public Expenditure and Reform guidelines. They set the rates.”

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