Was PAC Chairman’s €84,000 expenses value for money?

-   Alan Farrell TD

John McGuinness and team claimed €84,000 in expenses in under two years while Junior Minister.

Figures released to Alan Farrell, Fine Gael TD for Dublin North, today (Wednesday) show that the Public Accounts Committee Chair, John McGuinness TD, and his team claimed €84,000 in expenses in just twenty two months when he was a Junior Minister in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

At €3,800 per month, this rate of expenses claim was;

  • the highest of thirteen Ministers in that Department between 2007 and today,
  • 4 times the rate of expenses claimed by his senior Minister at the time (Micheál Martin),
  • 2.5 times larger than any of the seven Fianna Fáil Junior Ministers in the Department over the time.

In addition, John McGuinness, with seven political staff appointed to his office, had more staff than any other Minister in that period, including four senior Ministers. The table below shows the total expenses claimed by each Minister’s office, the average monthly amount and the total number of political posts for each Minister.

Commenting on the new figures, Alan Farrell TD said;

“It is remarkable that the man who is responsible for the oversight of Government spending, PAC Chair, John McGuinness, had the highest expenses when in office, the highest overtime claims and the highest number of political staff of any Minister in the Enterprise Department.

“Will John McGuinness explain how, of the 13 Ministers that served in the Department of Enterprise since 2007, he is the one that; claimed the most expenses, claimed several hundred hours overtime, spent €250,000 on fitting out a new office and bathroom?

“Up to this point, John McGuinness’ response has not been good enough and is reminiscent of his former boss, Bertie Ahern’s stock replies to challenging questions. This was to deny any knowledge, establish, then hide behind an investigation and imply some form of political witch hunt..

“Given the steady stream of revelations regarding John McGuinness’ twenty two months in office, I believe Micheál Martin and John McGuinness need to make full and honest responses to the above question. Failure to do so totally undermines any notion of change and renewal that Micheál Martin and Fianna Fáil would like to present to the public.”

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