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Health Ministers receive more than €79,000 in mileage expenses in 18-month perios

The Ministers are Minister for Health Simon Harris, Minister of State for Disabilities Finian McGrath, Minister of State for Health Promotion and National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne, and Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly.

For the 18-month period, Minister Harris, who is based in Co Wicklow, was paid €22,936 for mileage expenses. The expenses amounted to €14,566 for 2017, and €8,370 for the first half of 2018.

Minister Daly, appointed in June 2017, was paid the most in expenses throughout this time.

He received €27,960 in total, €14,652 of which was for 2017, and €13,308 for the first half of 2018. Minister Daly is based in Cork.

Figures for Minister McGrath show he received €9,894 for 2017, and €6,228 for the first half of 2018, which is a total of €16,122.

Minister Byrne was paid the least amount, with €7,486 received for 2017 and €4,813 for the first six months of 2018, leading to a total of €12,299.

Minister McGrath and Minister Byrne are both based in Dublin.

The total figure amounts to €46,598 for the four Ministers in 2017, while the total for the first half of 2018 is €32,719.

Other expenses claimed include €775 paid to Minister Harris in relation to the Round Table Meeting for European Health Ministers, and CEOs and Heads of Europe-based pharmaceutical companies, held in Malta last year. This covered €521 for hotel accommodation and €254 for subsistence.

Minister Harris also received €225 in respect of a European Medicines Agency meeting in Brussels in July 2017.

Meanwhile, €586 in subsistence was paid to Minister McGrath when he travelled to New York in May to officially mark Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

All flights are directly paid by the Department of Health, while meals are deemed to be covered by the subsistence rate, according to a Department spokesperson.

Through a separate FoI request, this newspaper acquired data relating to taxi expenses incurred by the Department for 2017, which amounted to €1,052.

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