Secretive expenses perk exposed

An investigation by Shaun Connolly of the Irish Examiner has uncovered an obscure but lucrative expenses perk exclusively reserved for ministers, junior ministers and the Attorney General (Morning Ireland, 6th report).

The perk allows them to claim back tax relief for maintaining a second home in the capital that can either be owned or rented. They can also claim back money, without producing receipts, for maintaining a hotel room or guest house room in the capital.

He was unable to ascertain how a politician goes about maintaining a hotel or guest house room.

On average the non Dublin ministers that this applies to are claiming between five and six thousand per year.

Connolly, who had great difficulty obtaining details of the perk, said it was possible that a minister could have no second home in Dublin but still claim the money – no questions asked.

He added that the estimated 35,000 people facing the prospect of having their homes repossessed next year would not be happy to learn that ministers were using taxpayer’s money to feather a second nest.