How the Freedom of Information Act can help save money for the taxpayer – Leo Varadkar’s repayment of €1,970.40

Some of you may remember a story I did last year about how Minister Leo Varadkar had made a double claim for expenses at a higher mileage rate than he was allowed.

These are the background documents to that, which show how Mr Varadkar ended up making a repayment of €1,970.40. This is a copy of the note from the minister that accompanied the refund he had to make.

Cheque Submission

This extract from an internal email sums up what happened quite well. All that I would say is that if you don’t notice an over-payment of close to €2,000 into your bank account, then either you – or your personal staff – need to start looking a lot more closely at what you are claiming for.

Briefing Note Varadkar

For reasons best known to themselves, it took the Department of Health the best part of six months to respond to the original FOI request I submitted on this.

It was only answered following an internal review when the original request was deemed a refusal.

Something to keep in mind for anybody dipping their toe into FOI requests is the fact that if a public body fails to meet the deadline for dealing with a request without reason – then you are entitled to seek an internal review free of charge.

Any redactions in document below are my own where I’ve removed unnecessary personal details:


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