High Mileage Club 6: Niall Collins says he drove 2,000+ kilometres in one month in the middle of Covid-19

Fianna Fáil minister of state Niall Collins claimed he drove more than 2,000 kilometres for ministerial work in August 2020 – with the country five months into the Covid-19 pandemic and the Dáil on its summer break.

This is the third unusually high driving expenses claim submitted by Collins and reported by The Ditch, as well as the third claim the Limerick County TD refuses to address.

His party colleague and fellow junior minister Thomas Byrne has insisted his 1,800-kilometre for the same month is correct, while arts minister Catherine Martin has repaid €1,140 she said she claimed mistakenly.

For his August 2020 mileage claim Collins said he drove 2,336 kilometres while conducting ministerial work.

His diary and social media posts however suggest 880 kilometres to be a more accurate figure.

Every day in his diary for the month, apart from four, was block booked for “constituency work”. Collins attended two meetings in Dubin on 26 and 28 August and no other meetings or events were scheduled that month.

Earlier this month The Ditch reported that Collins made two other mileage claims, in August 2021 and 2022, which weren’t supported by his ministerial diary.

From July 2020 to December 2022 he claimed tax-free ministerial mileage expenses of €50,471.09 for 150,082 kilometres’ driving.

Collins declined to comment.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors