The Public Accounts Committee is to examine allowances paid across the public service.

Their move comes in the wake of the controversy over Brendan Howlin's decision to leave existing allowances costing some €1.5 billion annually largely untouched and follows a request from Fine Gael's Eoghan Murphy, a member of the committee.

The committee is to seek information from all public bodies and their heads will then be called before the body as part of its examination of the issue.

At its meeting today, the Public Accounts Committee agreed to seek information from all public bodies on the level of allowances paid to staff.

The decision follows a request in writing from Deputy Eoghan Murphy. The payment of allowances will then form part of the examination of the accounts of these bodies when their heads appear before the Committee.

The PAC is to write to all Accounting Officers seeking details of the extent of such payments, their cost, the rate of payment and the date when the payment of these allowances commenced.