Letter by Oireachtas Head of Communications Mark Mulqueen to the Irish Independent on 7 July 2012.
The letter published in the Irish Independent on Wednesday, July 4, 'Too many TDs or not TDs -- that is the question', is inaccurate.
For starters, the letter writer says that the basic pay of a deputy is €95,363, rising to €101,446 for long-service TDs. This is wrong.
TDs are paid the basic salary of €92,672, commencing with the 31st Dail. Long Service Increments no longer exist, and all salaries are subject to tax and the normal charges and levies.
The letter writer then refers to perks. While there is a once-off grant of €8,000 towards the cost of setting up a constituency office, there is no annual maintenance grant of €8,000.
A series of allowances referred to by the writer of the letter date from a previous expenses regime, which was replaced in March 2010 by Oireachtas (Allowances and Facilities) Regulations 2010.
This saw the introduction of the Parliamentary Standard Allowance, which has two strands:
• Travel and Accommodation Allowance.
• Public Representation Allowance.
In short, this allowance covers the costs of travel to and from Leinster House, accommodation -- where applicable -- and, for deputies only, constituency travel.
The allowance is based on the Dublin band, and 12 bands of 30km, depending on the distance from Leinster House, with a fixed accommodation allowance.
Each member is paid a band allowance based on the distance from their declared normal place of residence to Leinster House.
In the case of deputies, the annual amounts range from €12,000 per annum for Dublin-based deputies to €37,850 per annum for those living 360km or more from Leinster House.
The Public Representation Allowance, which is the secondstrand of the PSA, is payable to all members, including ministers and Oireachtas office holders at the rates set out below.
Members may opt for either the certified unvouched amount or the fully vouched amount and must certify the amount expended in respect of expenses incurred in the performance of his/her duties as a member within one month of the end of the relevant period.
Members must repay unused amounts within two months of the end of the relevant period.
The allowance ranges from €15,000 to €25,700, and is used to pay for costs members incur.
There is no excuse for the Irish Independent not to be aware of these details.
Mark Mulqueen, Head of Communications, Houses of the Oireachtas, Dublin 2