High Mileage Club 7: Darragh O’Brien's August 2022 diary supports less than half his driving expenses claim

Housing minister Darragh O’Brien won’t explain why his ministerial mileage claim for August 2022 isn’t supported by his official diary.

Though O’Brien claimed for more than 2,800 kilometres, his diary suggests he drove less than half that – just 1,000 kilometres.

O’Brien’s cabinet colleague Catherine Martin recently repaid €1,140 in driving expenses she said she claimed in “error” while his party colleague Niall Collins refuses to address three unusually high mileage claims.

Dublin North TD O’Brien claimed to have driven 2,831 kilometres for ministerial work in August 2022 while the Dáil was in recess,

His diary and social media posts support around 1,000 kilometres, including trips to counties Monaghan and Wexford.

When ministers make driving expenses claims, they’re required to submit their total kilometres driven in a particular month and then subtract any that were for personal use.

Ministers are only to be “reimbursed expenditure necessarily incurred in the course of official duty away from home or headquarters” rather than constituency work, according to government policy.

O’Brien received €911.87 tax-free payment from the exchequer for his August 2022 mileage claim, which included the last four days of the previous month.

He declined to comment.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors