While some are hoping An Taoiseach may ask John O’Donoghue to repay some of his gross overspending, we are a little more realistic. We know they’re both cut from the same cloth, and thus Cowen will never ask Johnny to cough up.
However, the Revenue Commissioners, an independent body, tell us that benefit-in-kind tax can apply to a holder of public office whose spouses’ expenses were paid for by the taxpayer. It therefore may apply to travel undertaken by Kate-Ann O’Donoghue when she was not partaking in “official business”. If Kate-Ann traveled but was not attending meetings or conferences as the wife of the minister, then the tax would apply.
Revenue don’t comment on individual cases but we wonder how much of the expenses incurred constituted official business. Are the trips as a whole official business or do Revenue take each expense on its merit?
Do water taxis count? VIP facilities in Paris?
Note: Unfortunately the Public Accounts Committee would probably be required to direct Revenue to investigate this, as they did with Rody Molloy. Unlike Rody, Junket John is politician, so are the members of the PAC… there’s more chance of them doing it than Cowen making the order, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.