Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue has made his first public comments on the expenses controversy surrounding his time as a Government Minister.
The former Minister for Arts, Sports & Tourism defended his record as a Minister and as Ceann Comhairle in a letter to all members of the Dáil, which was sent last Friday.
Read the full letter here
He said he had stayed silent so far on the extensive media coverage of his expenses in order to protect the impartiality of his current position.
Mr O'Donoghue said it would not be proper for him to become involved in public debate concerning his time spent as a Minister, despite what he called 'the natural desire to cross swords with critics' in his own defence.
However, the Ceann Comhairle reminded his colleagues in the letter that he had taken a voluntary 10% pay cut.
He acknowledged that some of the costs incurred appeared high, and sincerely regretted that they occurred.
However, he pointed out that a minister or office-holder would not be informed of the details of such expenditure.
He said he would endeavour to ensure such costs are reduced to the minimum in the future.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has said Mr O’Donoghue’s response did not go far enough and he needed to apologise to the people.
Labour’s spokesperson on Social and Family Affairs Roisin Shortall said the Ceann Comhairle’s statement did not appear to appreciate the extent to which the public has been shocked by the level of expenses incurred.