Socialist TD Joe Higgins is to seek legal advice after the Houses of the Oireachtas confirmed that members can only claim expenses for travel to and from their constituencies.

Leinster House authorities had sought legal advice after it emerged that members of the United Left Alliance, including Mr Higgins, were using travel expenses to attend meetings called to oppose the Household Charge.

In a statement, the service also suggested that members might have to repay expenses and stressed there was a requirement to recompense where appropriate.

Mr Higgins said he regretted that the authorities had not met him or the four other United Left Alliance TDs as requested before seeking legal advice on the matter.

In a statement, Mr Higgins said he would write to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission to request a copy of the detailed legal advice they received.

He said he would be seeking independent legal advice.

People Before Profit TD Joan Collins and Socialist TD clare Daly also used travel allowances to assist the Household Charge campaign.

“I now intend to seek independent legal advice on the interpretation of Statutory Instrument 84/2010 as I believe that Section 4 (1)’s reference to a travel allowance to be used for ‘travel expenses which the member is obliged to incur in the performance of his or her duties as a member of Dáil Eireann’, clearly refers to elected representatives honouring their election mandates,” Mr Higgins said.

He said should a “clear body of legal opinion” establish he was was mistaken, he would “reconcile and recompense” as required the amounts used for travelling to campaign.