Department claims £2m in mileage

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Michelle Gildernew said her department's mileage and overtime claims are due to operational needs.

Staff at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development claimed more than £2m in mileage last year.

The minister for the department was asked the question by the DUP's Alex Easton.

Michelle Gildernew said that costs may be higher than other departments due to operational needs.

The minister also revealed that her department has paid more than £1.7m in overtime to staff since April.

In response to a question from Ulster Unionist leader Tom Ellliott, Ms Gildnernew said the overtime payment reflected the fact that her department provides out of hours services for areas such as flood prevention.

The minister also confirmed that the estimated staff overtime costs for the department for this financial year are more than £2.6m.