In 2010, the myriad of allowances previously available to Oireachtas members were replaced by an all-in-one “Parliamentary Standard Allowance” designed to cover their expenses and travel costs.
Oireachtas authorities publish on a monthly basis the amount each member claims under the allowance.
The latest figures, for December, show that more than €600,000 was paid out to TDs and senators in allowances on top of their salaries.
TDs receive an annual salary of €92,672 while senators receive €65,621.
The allowance is broken into two strands — a “public representation allowance” and a “travel and accommodation allowance”.
The public representation allowance covers expenses related to phones, leaflets, advertising, conferences and similar.
Under this, TDs can receive €15,000 a year without having to produce receipts, or up to €25,700 with receipts.
The travel and accommodation allowance covers the costs of travel to Leinster House and overnight stays, as well as constituency travel in the case of TDs.
The allowance is set at €12,000 a year for TDs in Dublin, rising to €37,850 for deputies living 360km or farther from Leinster House. Senators are covered by the same system, but receive smaller amounts.
Under the public representation allowance, senators can claim €9,250 a year unvouched or up to €15,000 vouched.
The travel and accommodation allowance is set at €7,000 a year for Dublin-based senators rising to €32,850 for those 360km or more from Leinster House.
Under the system, both TDs and senators are required to verify their attendance at Leinster House by “clocking in” with electronic fobs.
Because the costs of travel to Leinster House are factored into the expenses system, TDs and senators living the furthest from Dublin are the highest claimants.
TDs and senators are classified in bands depending on the distance they live from the Dáil and Seanad.
For example, a TD living in Kildare is in Band 1 while a TD living in West Cork is in Band 12.
The December figures show Cork South West TDs Noel Harrington and Jim Daly as the highest claimants, with Mr Harrington receiving €5,295.84 and Mr Daly €5,170.84.
The highest-claiming senators were Kerry-based Mark Daly of Fianna Fáil, who received €3,925.50, and Galway-based Trevor Ó Clochartaigh of Sinn Féin, who received €3,799.50.
* Noel Harrington, FG, Cork South West: €5,295.84
* Jim Daly, FG, Cork South West: €5,170.84
* Arthur Spring, Lab, Kerry North-Limerick West: €5,170.84
* Áine Collins, FG, Cork North-West: €5,107.84
* Pearse Doherty, SF, Donegal South-West: €5,107.84
* Charlie McConalogue, FF, Donegal North-East: €5,107.84
* Joe McHugh, FG, Donegal North-East: €5,107.84
* Michael Moynihan, FF, Cork North-West: €5,107.84
* Pat Breen, FG, Clare: €5,045.84
* Dara Calleary, FF, Mayo: €5,045.84
* Joe Carey, FG, Clare: €5,045.84
* Billy Kelleher, FF, Cork North Central: €5,045.84
* Ciaran Lynch, Lab, Cork South Central: €5,045.84
* Padraig MacLochlainn, SF, Donegal North-East: €5,045.84
* Micheál Martin, FF, Cork South Central: €5,045.84
* Michael McGrath, FF, Cork South Central: €5,045.84
* Michelle Mulherin, FG, Mayo: €5,045.84
* Dara Murphy, FG, Cork North Central: €5,045.84
* Jonathan O’Brien, SF, Cork North Central: €5,045.84
* Éamon Ó Cuiv, FF, Galway West: €5,045.84
* David Stanton, FG, Cork East: €5,045.84
* As expenses incorporate the cost of travel, TDs living furthest away from Leinster House will always be among the highest claimants.