The Garda Commissioner and representatives of garda bodies have told the Public Accounts Committee that a number of allowances should be subsumed into core pay.

Garda Representative Association General Secretary PJ Stone said this would remove any notion that they were paid as a perk.

The committee is examining the payment of 108 allowances to gardaí costing €240m per year.

However, 11 have been identified to be withdrawn from new beneficiaries.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said 90% of the garda budget went on salaries and allowances. He said allowances had been in place for four decades.

Mr Stone said that of the 108 allowances available, only 34 were in usage.

Labour TD Gerald Nash questioned why four Inspectors earned €60,000 in allowances and overtime.

Mr Callinan said that this was accurate, but it reflected the nature of the job, including anti-social hours.

He said all overtime expenditure was monitored very carefully.

Fine Gael's Paschal Donohoe questioned why there were 108 allowances available when only 34 applied to members of the force.

Mr Stone said some were obsolete and were not claimed and the list should be tidied up.

He said the vast majority, 90%, of his members only got the rent, boot and uniform allowances.

AGSI General Secretary John Redmond said there was some duplication in the list, for example allowances for inspectors and chief inspectors that were essentially the same.

Mr Donohoe also queried why overtime was considered an allowance and said this was different to some of the other organisations the committee had examined.

Mr Callinan said this had evolved over time.

The Garda Commissioner also confirmed that rent allowance is a fixed payment and is the same regardless of whether a garda lives in Dublin or elsewhere in the country.