Cork county councillor opposed to foreign 'junkets' reminded of his trip to Brussels

Cllr Diarmaid O’Cadhla

A county councillor who criticised the cost of trips to foreign conferences and called them unnecessary "junkets" was reminded that he was on one himself.

Cllr Diarmaid O’Cadhla had asked Cork County Council officials for details and costs of all foreign trips undertaken by councillors and staff members last year.

He was informed that council representatives attended 12 different foreign conferences last year, at a cost of €45,796.64.

"People are rightly dismayed and even angry at spending in excess of €45,000 on foreign trips. I'm aware of a council tenant in Cobh who has had no heating in his home for nearly three years," Cllr O’Cadhla said.

He claimed that councillors and staff shouldn't be attending many conferences because they didn't have the expertise to understand certain lectures.

The themes of the trips undertaken were varied and included twinning, economic development, energy and tourism.

Cllr O’Cadhla said he was against another trip coming up at the end of the month to Barcelona and the cost of an "exodus" of people to represent the council abroad on St Patrick's Day. "I would prefer to have these trips stopped," he said.

Cllr Joe Carroll said he'd been to a conference in Brussels and found it enlightening.

"I was in the company of Cllr O'Cadhla on that trip," Cllr Carroll added, which Cllr O'Cadhla didn't deny.

However, he got support from a number of councillors.

"I do believe there's money being wasted. They (foreign conferences) should be curtailed," Cllr Kieran McCarthy said.

Cllr Danielle Twomey said there was an element of the trips needed. However, she added that it was hard to explain to constituents why potholes weren't filled when such money was being spent.

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