Outrage is the only appropriate response to the news that Ivor Callely claimed €87,000 in unvouched mileage payments over a two-year period while a junior minister living in Dublin (News, 22 August). In doing so he was almost invariably claim­ing the maximum possible each month.
He is however not alone in this. The June 2010 PSA payments to TDs reveal that up to 15 Dublin TDs from all parties and including former taoiseach Bertie Ahern – who has at his disposal a chauffeur-driven state car to ferry him everywhere, including presumably to the Dáil and around his constituency – claimed the flat-rate €2,250 monthly unvouched payment for travel to and from the Dáil and within the constituency.
Enabling TDs to claim an extremely generous flat-rate subvention like this, whether the expense has been incurred or not, encourages TDs to claim the maximum possible and this is exactly what a majority are doing. Unvouched expenses payments are just a means of giving TDs a tax-free 'top-up' of minimum €25,000 per annum on top of an already generous basic annual salary of almost €100,000. This scandal must end, the sooner the better.
K Smyth,
Roselawn Road,
Castleknock, Dublin 15