Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has apologised to a Fianna Fáil TD for paying him a ministerial pension to which he was not entitled.

As a sitting TD, John Browne was not entitled to a ministerial pension, but it was paid to him by mistake.

Since the error was discovered, after a Parliamentary Question from Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, the payment has ceased, and arrangements are being put in place for the money to be recouped.

It is understood that the pension is worth €10,981 over 12 months and that Mr Browne received €7,396.31.

The Department has confirmed, following a check of the system, that no ministerial pension is being paid to any other sitting member.

Mr Browne said it "beggars belief" that incorrect payments are being made when there is so much emphasis on reducing expenditure.

He said he is making arrangements for the full and prompt return of overpayments, after it emerged that he had been paid a ministerial pension to which he was not entitled.

Initially it was reported that Mr Browne was receiving a pension of €55,000.

However, it subsequently emerged that the bulk of this, €44,000, was being paid in Dáil pension to another John Browne, the former Fine Gael TD for Carlow-Kilkenny.

It is not clear if the incorrect payment of the ministerial pension to Deputy Browne of Fianna Fáil was also due to confusion over two politicians with the same name.

Fianna Fáil's John Browne was a junior minister at the Department of Agriculture in the last Government.

He is currently Fianna Fáil spokesman on Marine and Fisheries.