TDs WILL be able to claim between €2,250 and €4,400 in expenses each month without having to produce receipts under a new system.
But they will have to verify their attendance at the Dáil to qualify for some of their payments. The expenses will be on top of their basic pay, which starts at €92,672 for new TDs.
Details of the revised system, which takes effect from March 1, were announced last night by the Department of Finance following agreement with the body that runs the Dáil and Seanad.
The reforms are aimed at “increasing the transparency of the allowances system”, the department said, and the amounts paid to TDs will be published each month.
But the system will allow TDs to continue claiming substantial amounts without producing receipts.
The system will see a myriad individual allowances previously available to TDs lumped in two core payments.
The first, known as the Public Representation Allowance, will cover expenses related to constituency offices, phones, leaflets and similar. Under this, TDs will receive €15,000 a year without having to produce receipts. Alternatively, they can claim up to €25,700 if they produce receipts.
The second payment, the Travel and Accommodation Allowance, will cover the costs of travel to the Dáil and overnight stays.
The allowance will be set at €12,000 a year for TDs in Dublin, rising to €37,850 for deputies living 360km or farther from the Dáil. To qualify for full payment, TDs will have to demonstrate they attended the Dáil on at least 120 out of each 150 days – 80%.
This means TDs will be able to miss one in every five days without having any of their travel allowance docked. Although not yet finalised, it is expected that verification will involve TDs using a card or fob, which they will swipe at electronic readers.
But TDs won’t have to produce receipts to qualify for the travel allowance.
And when combined with the €15,000 a year in unvouched expenses they can claim under the Representation Allowance, it means a TD could receive between €27,000 and €52,850 annually without having to produce receipts.
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