Two Louth-based Oireachtas members have claimed a combined €1,500 back on the costs of a new Apple iPhones since December last, new figures obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request show.
Fergus O’Dowd TD and Senator John McGahon are the only two Oireachtas representatives from county Louth who have claimed the standard contribution of €750 towards their new smartphones, payments made under the Direct Purchase Scheme, which allows politicians to claim back up to €750 for a new mobile phone every eighteen months.
The FOI request, received by journalist and Right To Know advocate Ken Foxe, shows that claims for contributions towards new phones were not as plentiful in the seven months between December 1 2019 and June 30 2020, amidst the Covid-19 outbreak. Just 22 invoices were processed during that time.
Senator McGahon, a former Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, paid €1,179 for a top-of-the-range iPhone 11 Pro. He was able to claim the standard €750 back. Due to Covid-19, McGahon did not seat in Seanad Eireann until June 29.
However, Fergus O’Dowd’s claim form lists a purchase price of €709 for a new iPhone with a generous “discount” bringing the price down from its original €1,210.99. His €750 allowance would cover the €709 in total.