Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ministerial Travelling Expenses.

4.

asked the Minister for Defence the amount paid in travelling expenses to each Minister of State in his Department from 1 November 1983, to 1 November 1984.

(Dún Laoghaire): Nil.

Are the travelling facilities available to the Minister of State a charge on the public purse and, if so, will the Minister of State inform the House the cost for the year in question?

(Dún Laoghaire): The question asked the amount paid in travelling expenses to the Minister of State in the Department of Defence and the answer is nil.

Will the Minister tell the House what the travel facilities that are available to him are costing the taxpayer?

(Dún Laoghaire): If the Deputy permits me to go to the next question I will tell him how I travel.

Will the Minister inform the House the cost of the transport facilities that are available to him?

(Dún Laoghaire): The Deputy asked the amount paid in travelling expenses to the Minister of State in the Department of Defence and the answer to that is “nil”.

Will the Minister accept that there is a charge to the Exchequer for the transport facilities made available to him?

(Dún Laoghaire): Not in the Department of Defence.

The facilities available to the Minister of State will be charged to the Department for which he holds ministerial responsibility. The Minister must accept that there is a charge on the public purse and surely he has responsibility to inform the House of the amount of that charge when he is asked to do so?

(Dún Laoghaire): I stand over the reply I have given. The answer is “nil”.

Why is the Minister of State so reluctant to disclose the information sought?

(Dún Laoghaire): I am not reluctant to answer the question.

Does the Minister know the cost?

(Dún Laoghaire): I have given the Deputy the answer. It is “nil”.

Does the Minister know what the charge to the public purse was for the facility?

(Dún Laoghaire): The answer is “nil”.

The travelling expenses are not being paid direct to the Minister but there is a cost involved.

(Dún Laoghaire): There were no travelling expenses.

Why is the Minister of State so evasive in trying to avoid answering the question? Why is it that the Minister will not tell the House the cost to the Exchequer?

(Dún Laoghaire): I have answered the question.

It has been suggested that the Deputy might wait for the reply to the next question.