The Public Accounts Committee has agreed that its investigation of public sector allowances will embrace allowances paid to ministers, TDs and senators.

Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming raised the issue with the committee and said it would be a bit rich to review the allowances of others and exclude the allowances paid to members of the Oireachtas.

The committee heard that it would be difficult for it to form an evaluation of its own allowances, however it was agreed the information should be laid before the public.

Independent TD Shane Ross said members of the Oireachtas should be asked to justify them.

He said that if the committee members were the investigators, then the members themselves should be investigated.

PAC told allowance ban compromising competitiveness

Meanwhile, UCD President Dr Hugh Brady has told the PAC that the ban on paying allowances to senior staff with leadership roles was compromising its international competitiveness and ability to earn non-exchequer income.

Dr Brady said the payment of allowances to Deans and Heads of Schools had ceased by 2009.

However he said they were a part of the market in which the university operated and predated new legislation in 1997.

Dr Brady also said there had been some very high profile international staff who had left UCD and the issue of allowances had been a big part of that.

He said he would not like to mention names but unfortunately they had written about their experience in the international press.

He said the allowance payments were not gratuitous, were paid to staff with significant leadership and management responsibilities and were for pay not covered by national pay scales.

He agreed Irish university pay was quite healthy by international comparisons, but there was no incentivised part of the salary.

He also noted that UCD generates €184m of non-exchequer income, some 45% of its annual turnover.

Dr Brady is one of a number of university presidents answering questions at the PAC today.

PAC delegation to investigate Irish aid in Mozambique

Separately, a delegation from the PAC is to visit Mozambique later this year to "follow the money trail" and judge the impact of Ireland's overseas aid programme on the ground.

Ireland's aid programme abroad was €657m in 2011.

The visit had been earmarked for Ethiopia but this was changed to Mozambique, which receives general Government support.

Mozambique was the recipient of Ireland's largest bilateral aid programme.