The mystery of Ruairi Quinn’s unusually high mileage has finally been solved, as he was claiming for trips to and from his holiday home.
Mr Quinn, when interviewed on RTE and Newstalk last month, explained that the reason the claims were so high was because officials used the car and not all official travel was marked in his diary.
Copies of expense claims submitted by his driver now show that the main reason his mileage was so high in July and August was because he was claiming for trips to and from Roundstone, Co Galway where he has a holiday home.
In total, there were 12 claims either to and from Galway, many of them listed as Roundstone.
In many of the cases, the car would travel to Galway to collect him and bring him to events.
On a couple of occasions, it appears as if Mr Quinn was simply driven to Roundstone with no official business listed for those days.
Mr Quinn also made a claim for mileage (while his driver claimed subsistence) for the Labour Party think-tank in Tullow, Co Carlow last year.
The claim form from the Department of Education specifies that all mileage must be carried out as part of official Ministerial duties.
Asked whether this type of claim was acceptable, particularly in light of Labour’s previously hard-line policy on expenses claimed by Ivor Callely and John O’Donoghue amongst others, one of Mr Quinn’s special advisers said he was working in the car during these journeys.
His spokeswoman said: “All of Minister Quinn’s claims for expenses and mileage are strictly in accordance with the arrangements outlined by the government.
The Minister is often required to interrupt his holidays to attend official functions and undertake government business.
In order to carry out his considerable workload at the Department of Education and Skills, the Minister carries confidential official papers in the car and works while on route to his destinations. This is considered to be official travel.
The drivers of the minister are entitled to claim for subsistence when on official business, again all of which are in accordance with the guidelines.
As has been pointed out to you on several occasions, the Minister’s electronic diary does not reflect all official uses of the car.
Here are the documents: