Senators get over €200 per day expenses
WICKLOW'S TWO senators received expenses of more than €200 for every day the Seanad sat last year.
Figures published by the Sunday Independent show that Independent Senator Shane Ross claimed € 23,224 in expenses while Deirdre de Burca of the Green Party claimed €20,342.
The period covered by the expenses is the 12-month period from December 1, 2008 to December 1, 2009.
Senator Ross' expenses claim rank him 46th out of 62 senators although two senators, Niall O Brolchain and James Carroll, only took up their positions in late 2009 and received no expenses for the period covered.
Meanwhile, Senator de Burca's expenses put her in 53rd position with only seven senators claiming less than her. The expenses are received on top of their basic salary of more than €70,000 per year. The Seanad sat for a mere 99 days last year yet its members claimed almost €3 million in expenses and allowances. In total the 60 members of Seanad Eireann claimed €2,765,452 in largely tax free and unvouched expenses and allowances during the period covered. Despite a reduction in allowances and mileage rates introduced by Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan last April, the amount claimed by senators during 2009 actually increased on the previous year.
A spokesperson for the Oireachtas said the record for expenses for 2009 may also include expenses incurred in 2008 but which were not claimed until 2009.