Richard Boyd Barrett claims €12,000 for car repairs and travelling 12km to Dail
PEOPLE Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett is using taxpayers' money to pay for repairing his car.
The left-wing TD has been a strident critic of Government cutbacks and this week challenged Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dail over the reduction in home-help hours.
But he has confirmed that he claimed €12,000 last year in expenses for travelling to the Dail from his home in Glenageary, in his Dun Laoghaire constituency -- a distance of just 12km.
He said he used the full amount for travel expenses -- including his car-repair bills.
"First of all, my car had to be repaired several times because I use it so much. I travel sometimes twice a day back and forth from Dun Laoghaire," said Mr Boyd Barrett.
According to the Leinster House sources, the TD is allowed to have his car repair costs included in his travel expenses. Under the rules, TDs are entitled to take a number of other travel costs into account, besides fuel.
These include oil, tyres, insurance, car tax, driving licence, AA membership and maintenance, such as car repairs.
Mr Boyd Barrett told Newstalk's 'Breakfast Show' he recognised that the €12,000 payment for travel to the Dail and around his constituency was an "overly generous allowance".
Unlike rural TDs, Dublin-based TDs do not have to use their €12,000 'travel and accommodation allowance' to pay for hotel accommodation because they live close to the Dail.
Mr Barrett said he only took less than the average industrial wage from his €92,000 Dail salary for this reason.
"Ordinary workers wouldn't get that kind of support for their travel and subsistence," he said.
Mr Boyd Barrett takes around €24,000 per year, after tax, for his personal use.
This means that he is accepting a gross salary of around €29,000 out of his €92,000 TD's salary.
But rather than giving the remainder of his salary back to the taxpayer, he donates it to the People before Profit group, the anti-household tax campaign, the Save our Seafront campaign in Dun Laoghaire and the campaign to keep the 24-hour A&E department in Loughlinstown Hospital.
TDs do not have to provide any proof of their individual mileage or travel costs -- although they do have to turn up to the Dail for 120 days in the year in order to claim their full expenses.
Those living within 25km of the Dail receive €12,000 per year tax-free and this rises to €37,000 per year if they live more than 360km away.