TD Michelle Mulherin has said she will repay the cost of calls to a mobile phone in Kenya, if she is required to.
Ms Mulherin is alleged to have made just under €2,000 worth of calls to a mobile phone in Kenya.
This morning the Mayo TD maintained that the calls were not personal – but that if required she would repay the cost.
“I don’t know other than what’s in the media, I’ve written to the Ceann Comhairle to ask him to look into it. I’m open to whatever he has to say about it.”
“In fairness, there’s phone calls listed there to everywhere in the world. We’re a parliament, we’re international as well, and I would like to get more information.”
While not confirming the cost of the calls she made to Kenya, she said the figures quoted in the media – if correct – seemed excessive.
“If there’s a problem, and I know I’ve made calls, and the figures that have been given given seem excessive, or seem expensive if I say it that way.”
However Ms Mulherin, speaking to Sean O’Rourke on Radio One, said the revelation of the phone calls raises questions over confidentiality in the Dail.
“I’d just like to make the proviso, all calls have been made in the course of my work, nothing else.
“If a private individual contacts me or I contact them, and it’s a private matter ... Is that gone by the wayside?”
She said that no official in the Oireachtas has approached her suggesting there was a problem with her phone usage.
“If there is a problem in relation to my usage of a phone I’d imagine I’d have been told about it. I maintain the way I used the phone was in the standard way, and it just happened to be someone in Kenya.”
She said she would repay the money without issue if she is required to do so.
“I’m not trying to make any less or more of this. I have no problem making a refund if that’s what’s required. What I am maintaining is I didn’t act outside the jurisdiction of what I’m allowed to do as my job as a politician”.
She outright denied that the phone call was personal.
“I actually, being honest with you, don’t have a personal life. All my life is taken up with politics. I don’t have the liberty of long lengthy phone calls out in Leinster House.
“Is this story something to do with the taxpayer, or is it to do with my personal life?”
She confirmed that the phone calls she made were to Danson Kole, who had previously worked on her campaign.
“My phone calls were not personal. The individual that you referred to there is a private citizen, and he doesn’t need to be put into newspaper articles because he is associated with me.
“I’ve had communications with Dan over a period of time. He’s somebody that I would have dealings with in relation to political situations – as I do have other people that I call, political confidantes.
“If I want to make calls besides, I can make them on my own phones, and I’ve done it.”