Sligo's Junior Minister John Perry has been named as one of the Government ministers who qualifies for a significant tax break which allows them to write off 100% mortgage interest on their Dublin bases.According to The Sunday Times, the perk, known as the dual-abode allowance is available to only 19 ministers and junior ministers from constituencies outside Dublin who require a second home in the capital.
The Taoiseach Enda Kenny vowed to abolish this tax break when he was in opposition. Fianna Fáil's Charlie McCreevy introduced the relief in 2002.The Government is refusing to disclose which ministers are availing of the perk but some individuals confirmed they have taken advantage of the tax break.Mr Kenny told the newspaper in 2011 that he would claim the tax relief on the mortgage interest on his Dublin apartment.
Others who confirmed claiming the allowance included Brendan Howlin and Michael Noonan who said he was 'considering' claiming. Although Mr Noonan does not own a property in Dublin the allowance can be used to offset hotel costs.Mr Perry, who submits one of the highest transport costs claims among Government ministerial ranks, is understood to own an apartment in Islandbridge. However it is unsure if the apartment has been sold to offset the debt owed to Danske Bank.
As well as claiming against mortgage interest relief those in receipt of the allowance can claim for a portion of their utility bills, repairs and routine maintenance. Those who own their Dublin pied-à-terre can claim €6,500 unvouched or more with receipts.Nine coalition ministers are currently claiming the relief and others, along with John Perry, who qualify include, Phil Hogan, Simon Coveney, Jimmy Deenihan, Kathleen Lynch, paul kehoe, Alan Kelly, Ciaran cannon, Dinny McGinley, Michael Ring, Fergus O'Dowd, Jan O'Sullivan and Sean Sherlock.