Two presidential candidates are among Irish MEPs refusing to release details of their expense and allowance claims.
Both are Fine Gael presidential hopefuls: Mairead McGuinness and Gay Mitchell are among eight MEPs who declined to reveal their recent expenses when asked by the Irish Independent.
On top of a salary of around €96,000 a year, MEPs are entitled to claim for a raft of expenses including staff costs. These can total up to €400,000 a year.
Independent MEP Marian Harkin said she claimed around €91,000 expenses in 2009 and had €202,968 paid on staff costs for five assistants. Fellow Labour MEP Proinsias De Rossa pointed to figures in 2009 that showed combined staff and expense costs of around €350,000 a year.
The failure to respond came as the European Parliament bowed to pressure from Irish barrister Ciaran Toland to publish the 2006 Galvin Report into abuses of the expenses system by MEPs. Mr Toland fought a three-year legal battle after journalists were previously refused access to the report.lThe People’s Movement has launched a new pamphlet entitled The European Stability Mechanism and the case for an Irish Referendum (click on the title to access).