McGuinness must clarify whether he signed off on son’s €71k expenses bill

Fine Gael TD for Dublin North, Alan Farrell, has called on Fianna Fáil TD and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, John McGuinness, to clarify whether he signed off on the €71,353 in overtime, mileage and subsistence claimed by his son, Cllr Andrew McGuinness, when he worked in his father’s Ministerial office at the Department of Enterprise from 2007 to 2009. This included €30,000 in overtime payments in 2008 alone, as reported in today’s Irish Independent.

“I am keen to know whether John McGuinness signed off on payments of €71,353 in expenses for his son, Andrew during a two year period when he was a Junior Minister at the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation. Deputy McGuinness’ son was in receipt of these earnings at a time when 90,000 private sector workers were losing their job each year.

“I would also like to know how Andrew McGuinness worked enough hours to earn €30,000 in overtime payments in one year on his salary of €42,000. He has been given the opportunity to account for this and has failed to do so.

“While a Minister, John McGuinness also approved the €250,000 renovation of his Ministerial office at a time when Ireland was entering economic freefall. He later claimed that he was not aware of the cost involved, though documentation from the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation shows that he gave his full approval for the expensive office makeover.

“John McGuinness is the classic poacher turned gamekeeper. This is the man who Micheál Martin has chosen to be Fianna Fáil’s nominee as chair of the Public Accounts Committee, which is responsible for overseeing and scrutinising public spending right across Government. McGuinness and his line Minister, Micheál Martin completely took their eye off the ball over reckless spending in their own department, while simultaneously failing to promote sustainable jobs.”