A Senator has defended the travel expenses system for the upper house, which saw €240,000 spent during lockdown - despite the Seanad not sitting.
Some 48 Senators were given attendance and subsistence payments for April and May at an average of more than €4,000 each per month, even though the chamber was shut.
Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne, who waived his travel claim during that period, told Newstalk Breakfast this is not 'money in their pockets'.
"There are probably a number of things to look at here: first of all what are the expenses and so on that are paid?
"So there are two types of expenses that are paid to members of the Oireachtas: one is a kind of a representational allowance, which deals with the normal running of their office, for research, for advertising and services, and clinics and things like that.
"And the other is the travel and accommodation allowance, which is designed to cover where TDs and Senators are travelling to Dublin for the purposes of meetings in and around the Houses of the Oireachtas".
But he said the fact that the Seanad was not sitting "doesn't mean that Senators weren't working".
"I can certainly say that all of my colleagues at the time were working".
"Even though I didn't claim it, it wasn't a case that I wasn't travelling during the period in order to attend meetings and so on in Dublin.
"So I think it is fair to say that Senators would have been traveling during the period and would have been attending meetings.
"I think the other core point, that Senator Alice Mary Higgins makes, there is also a requirement on Senators to have attended a number of days - where like in anyone else of a job you've to fob in and so on.
"There have been additional days now required in terms of attending in Dublin in order to ensure that all of that travel is vouched.
"At the end of the year all of that will have to be reconciled."
He admitted "it's not good PR", but added: "You've got to remember that it is an expense, it's not money that kind of goes straight into Senators pockets".