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MacSharry: More detail on President's spending should be provided in annual audit

Fianna Fáil TD and member of the Public Accounts Committee Marc MacSharry wants the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to have access to more details of spending by the President.

He was commenting after Áras An Uachtaráin published for the first time the details of the President’s annual spend of €317,000.

“I commend President Higgins for doing what he did. There is no suggestion that he had done anything wrong,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

“When it comes to public money there needs to be better accountability. Nobody is alleging misappropriation or that too much money was spent.”

Mr MacSharry wants more detail to be provided in an annual audit.

According to the figures supplied by Áras an Uachtaráin President Michael D Higgins spent more than €1.7 million on food beverages, entertainment and associated costs during his first term in office.

If €40,000 was spent on gifts, are we talking about a box of biscuits and a bottle of whiskey or diamonds and pearls?

"I’m sure it’s not the latter, but I would like some details,” added Mr MacSharry.

It would be appropriate for the CAG to have access to more details of spending, he said.