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*Timmy Dooley. Photograph: John Mangan

A Clare Senator made use of a special allowance to pay his wife over €10,000.

More than €674,000 was spent by Ministers, TDs and Senators through a special allowance that can be used for PR advice, consultancy and secretarial assistance.

Detail which came to light following a report by The Irish Independent revealed that Senator Timmy Dooley (FF) was among a number of politicians that used the allowance to hire family members.

Dooley’s wife Emer was paid €10,400 for work as a secretarial assistance under the allowance. She has worked in his constituency office on the Mill Rd in Ennis since 2011 when was a TD.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, the Mountshannon native outlined that Emer worked in the office five days a week from 9:30am to 5pm. “My wife works with me and there is nothing in that,” he said.

The allowance covered a six month period, Dooley highlighted. “When it is broken down over this time it isn’t even the minimum wage”.

He added, “Emer has a degree in Economics and English, if she worked in any other sector, she would be paid much more for her work. From the perspective of people who have dealt with her, she has worked very hard to deliver a very good service”.

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