Dáil Éireann - Volume 494 - 06 October, 1998
Written Answers. - Car Allowances.
Mr. Gormley Mr. Gormley
249. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Finance the plans, if any, he has to reduce car allowances for higher civil servants to rates which would have the effect of promoting public transport use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18343/98]
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy) Charlie McCreevy
Minister for Finance: (Mr. McCreevy): The basic purpose of Civil Service milage rates is to reimburse staff who are required to travel on official business in their own cars for their reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. The rates are agreed with representatives of the staff side through the normal industrial relations procedures under the scheme of conciliation and arbitration for the Civil Service. The Civil Service rates are also used widely throughout the economy in both the public and private sectors.
The question of when officers may be authorised to use their own cars for official purposes is entirely a matter for the individual Departments themselves having regard to their requirements and subject to compliance with the travelling and subsistence regulations. Under the regulations, there is a general onus on Departments to properly plan travelling duties so as to reduce the total amount of travel to the minimum consistent with effectiveness and to ensure that official travel is  by the shortest practicable routes and by the cheapest mode of conveyance. No travelling expenses are payable in respect of any journey which covers all or part of an officer's usual route between home and headquarters.
The regulations also distinguish between two categories of officer authorised to use their own cars on official business. Officers assigned to field duties would frequently have to transport files and equipment to a variety of different locations in the course of their work thus making the use of their own cars essential for the efficient performance of those duties. Officers other than those assigned to field duties, may be allowed to use their own cars on official business only where no suitable public transport is available, is available only at equal or greater expense or where the use of public transport would result in the loss of official time which it is necessary to avoid.
Given the purpose of Civil Service mileage rates and the circumstances in which they are payable, I would doubt that a reduction in those rates would have the effect of encouraging the use of public transport. Accordingly, I have no plans to reduce the mileage rates payable to civil servants who use their own cars for their official duties.
Dáil Éireann 494 Written Answers. Car Allowances.