Updated: 27/04/12 : 06:17:53
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Sligo's Perry Tops 'Spending Polls'....Again

Sligo/Nth Leitrim TD and Minister of State, John Perry has topped the 'spending polls' again.

Earlier this month the Ballymote native succeeded in achieving the highest spend amongst all TDs and ministers for a personal Public Relations allowance. He clocked up over €40,000 which was more than the combined spend of both the Health Minister Dr James Reilly and the department's junior minister, Roisin Shorthall.  See SligoToday.ie 14/4/12

This followed his earlier mileage claim, again the highest in Dáil Eireann, at €31,867, which was over €10,000 above his nearest claimant. See SligoToday.ie 2/4/12

Figures released yesterday have confirmed that Minister Perry has claimed a staggering €131,386 in transport costs. The whopping claim is over €53,000 higher that that the claim paid to his 'boss', Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton’s whose costs were €78,267.

The Irish Times reported that Transport costs for the Cabinet, Ministers of State and other office holders including the President, Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecutions amounted to just over €7.2 million, according to Government statistics.

The expenditure including cars, drivers and mileage allowances totalled just under €2.6 million in the past year for 12 members of Cabinet and the 15 Ministers of State.

The cost for the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister for Justice and a number of other State office holders in the period since February 2011 was a further €4.6 million. This is just under €3 million less than when the old transport arrangements applied.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said records of costs for office holders who have a Ministerial car and Garda drivers “have not been maintained in a manner which would allow for the identification of costs associated with individual office holders”.

However, he said the Garda authorities had indicated the cost from February last year to March this year was €4,626,296. Mr Shatter said that in 2010 under the old transport system, officer holder expenditure amounted to €7.5 million, and “significant savings have been achieved”.

Under the old system a car and Garda drivers were provided to more than 20 office holders including the entire 15 member-Cabinet, all former taoisigh and presidents and the Government Chief Whip.

Office holders including the President, Chief Justice, Attorney General, and Director of Public Prosecutions retain a State car and Garda drivers for security reasons under the new arrangements.

These were introduced on May 1st last year to cut costs and the only Cabinet members still provided with a car and Garda drivers are the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, for security reasons.

The 12 remaining Ministers had to give up their State car and operate under the same system as Ministers of State, employing civilian drivers who are paid by the State and claiming mileage allowances.

Since June 16th, 2011, former taoisigh and presidents who used to have a car and Garda driver for life are now only supplied with official transport for significant State occasions.

Fianna Fáil Limerick TD Niall Collins asked the cost of Ministerial transport, in a series of questions across all Government departments.

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton’s costs were €78,267.57 while Minister of State for Small Business John Perry was €131,363.89.

Minister for Health James Reilly gave just the total cost for himself, and Ministers of State Kathleen Lynch and Róisín Shortall as €222,811.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said total costs were €195,033 for himself and Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd, including a combined mileage expenses for the two Ministers of €31,083.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn’s civilian drivers’ salaries were €73,885 from May 2011 to March 2012 and his mileage allowance was €15,745 for the same period.