AN INTERNAL audit of political expenses gave the allowances regime a clean bill of health after a random inspection of claims by 25 TDs and senators.

It did not discover any of the discrepancies regarding expenses claimed by Senator Ivor Callely or other controversial claims made by TDs and senators.

The random sampling uncovered nothing untoward in the claims, according to the 'Internal audit of [the] members allowances processing system'.

The report said: "The review work covered the various allowances and the travel and subsistence areas. The files chosen for inspection were spread in a representative manner over the political spectrum in both houses."

It said that arrangements for checking the expense and allowance claims of TDs and senators were "generally satisfactory".

The report, conducted in May of last year, said there were strong controls in place but that "certain aspects" of the regime could be improved upon.

It said that many of the allowances were unvouched and that receipts did not have to be submitted for most categories of expenses.

The report said that the travel and subsistence part of the allowances system was subject to "detailed checking" before payment was approved.

It was precisely this area of expense which saw Senator Ivor Callely suspended from the Seanad after he claimed travel to and from a holiday home in Co Cork and not his home in Dublin.

The report said: "The relatively detailed nature of the mileage and overnight allowance arrangements necessitates extensive checking when calculating payments.

"In this regard, initial processing is checked by at least two independent staff members before being forwarded to the Finance Unit for payment.

"This is a satisfactory method which ensures segregation of duties and independent checking procedures."

It said that when an inaccurate claim was made by a TD or senator, a letter was sent to them to tell them about the error.

The report said: "This correspondence also advises the member that the correct amount has been amended on the claim form and that the correct amount will be paid."

An inspection of claims by specific members uncovered inaccuracies but all of these had already been detected and corrected by Oireachtas staff.

However, the report suggests that there was no mechanism for raising concerns if a TD or senator repeatedly filled out their expenses inaccurately.

The report said: "It can arise that a member may submit a number of claims requiring correction. There are no special procedures for this scenario."