€83,000 paid out by Cork City Council to cover travel expenses of elected members since 2015

€83,000 paid out by Cork City Council to cover travel expenses of elected members since 2015

More than €83,000 has been paid out by Cork City Council to cover travel expenses incurred by elected members since the start of 2015.

It includes almost €30,000 in 2018 alone, with a significant amount of that spent on sending a large delegation of elected members to San Francisco.

Since the start of 2015, a total of €83,387.57 was paid out to councillors attending events, conferences and representing Cork City Council at functions overseas and around Ireland.

The expenses are in addition to standard salaries and allowances available to councillors, including a yearly €5,185.85 allowance for expenses.

In 2018, a total of €28,692.68 was paid out. Councillors travelled to Brussels, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Rome, Florence and St Petersburg, as well as the annual trip to San Francisco.

The 2018 delegation to San Francisco was the single most expensive trip since the start of 2015, with six councillors sent as part of a large cohort of city representatives. €4,707.42 was claimed on expenses - the members each claiming an equal share of €784.57.

In all, the five-day trip actually cost the city in the region of €50,000, with the remainder of the expenses covering accommodation, transport and a €9,000 entertainment evening on the rooftop of Hotel Via, overlooking San Francisco harbour.

Each Lord Mayor visits San Francisco during their term in office. A total of €8,888.98 has been claimed by councillors visiting the city since 2015.

Almost €4,000 has also been spent sending elected members to China since 2015. Four trips are recorded in the documents released by Cork City Council, including €2,732.02 for three separate trips in 2016. This included a conference on Chinese Friendship Cities and a separate visit for a Healthy Cities Conference.

In 2017, a total of €15,962.21 was claimed for travel expenses, including trips to New York, Washington DC and Brussels, as well as Stavanger in Norway, Kaunas in Lithuania, Pecs in Hungary and Krynka in Poland.

In 2016, €19,044.58 was approved in expenses, with €19,688.10 signed off on in 2015. Much of the expenses are incurred by council members travelling to training seminars or conferences around Ireland.

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