We welcome the statement from the Houses of the Oireachtas, announcing that they would seek legal advice on clarification of statutory instrument 84/2010, which says that TDs may use their Travel Allowance for “travel expenses which the member is obliged to incur in the performance of his or her duties as a member of Dail Eireann”.
We maintain that TDs who used some of the Travel Allowance to attend large public meetings and rallies against the Household Tax around the country were absolutely justified.
Should the legal advice state that TDs Travel Allowance is only for use within their constituency or between the constituency and Leinster House, we will require the Government and the Oireachtas Commission to look at the following major anomaly.
In 2011, apart from the Party Leader’s Allowance, the Fine Gael party received public funding of €1.9 million; Labour 1.03m; Fianna Fail 1.6million; dependent on their first preference vote in the general election. According to the legislation these parties are free to use that public funding for “coordination of the activities and members of the party” i.e. for the organisation and building of their parties. Smaller parties that do not qualify for public funding based on their first preference vote would therefore be at a serious disadvantage.
Joe Higgins TD, Clare Daly TD, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Joan Collins TD
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