Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (100)

Niall Collins

Question:

100. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in his Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52400/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

There are currently four credit cards in operation within the Department Of Education and Skills. Each Minister’s Private Secretary has a credit card in name their issued to them, as does the Principal Officer of the IT unit.

The bill for the credit cards is paid in full each month by Direct Debit from the Department’s bank account to avoid the accumulation of interest.

A credit card can only be issued upon request to an Administrator of the Department’s bank account, and must be authorised by two administrators before it can be issued. The number of credit cards in operation is kept to a minimum.

Each cardholder is issued with a copy of the Department’s guidance document on the use of credit cards when their card is issued. They receive monthly statements to allow them to verify the charges to their card, and are required to verify that these charges are correct before payment. Officers holding credit cards are instructed to only use them when other avenues of payment are unavailable.

Year

Expenditure on Credit Cards

Interest Paid

Number of Cards in Operation

2016

€14,587.69

nil

3

2017

€16,398.01

nil

*4

2018

€22,021.56

nil

4

2019**

€20,449.21

nil

4

* In 2017, an additional Minister of State was appointed to the Department. A credit card was issued to their Private Secretary in August of that year, bringing the total number of cards to four.

** 2019 figures cover the period January to November inclusive