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Mileage and travel expenses for Ministers at the Department of Health was over €7,500 greater last year than in 2017, new figures obtained by the Medical Independent (MI) reveal.
The Ministers in question 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. According to the figures, which were released to MI through Freedom of Information (FoI) law, the total amount paid for mileage and travel expenses amount to €54,145 for the four Ministers in 2018. This compares to €46,598 in 2017.
Minister Daly, who is based in Cork, received the highest amount for mileage and travel expenses (€21,422) last year. Minister Harris received €14,268 in 2018; Minister McGrath received €10,439; and Minister Byrne received €8,016.
MI has also obtained mileage and travel expenses for the beginning of 2019. According to the figures, also received through FoI, a combined total of €20,370 in mileage and travel expenses have been claimed by the Health Ministers this year.
Minister Daly again was paid the highest amount, receiving €9,194 from January to April of this year. Minister Daly received €3,542 in January; €2,267 in February; €1,958 in March; and €1,427 in April, according to the figures. The figures show Minister Harris received €4,576; Minister McGrath received €3,274; and Minister Byrne received €3,326.
Minister Harris received €722 in January; €2,150 in February; and €1,704 in March. Figures for April were not provided. The figures for Minister McGrath relate to January (€671) and February/March (€2,603). A monthly breakdown of Minister Byrne’s mileage expenses, which were claimed between January and April, was not provided.