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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Government open to greater transparency around spending at Áras an Uachtaráin, says Varadkar

The Government is open to extending existing Freedom of Information Act laws to ensure there is greater transparency around the office of the Presidency.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed the potential move this evening after months of debate over spending at Áras an Uachtaráin during Michael D Higgins' first term as President.

"That's something we're going to give consideration to.

[quote]"The presidency is not accountable to the Oireachtas, that's in the constitution, but that's not to say the presidency is not accountable to the public."[/quote]

"So I think that's something we're going to have to consider. What President Higgins has said is that he will ensure there is proper audit of what the President spends," Mr Varadkar said.

During the same press conference, Mr Varadkar also said he is in favour of limiting future presidential terms to five years.

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He said he would personally support the measure as there may be a need to reform the presidency, but said this is still open to discussion and legal debate.

"The constitutional convention actually recommended every five years, but again that would require a referendum. We want a 21st Century constitution for a 21st Century republic, but there are a lot of other issues on the agenda as well," he said.