Cork City Council has defended the Lord Mayor’s use of the official mayoral car to drive him home from the Fianna Fáil ard fheis in Dublin last Saturday.
Paul Moynihan, the council’s director of services in corporate and external affairs, said Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald had been in Dublin on official mayoral business on the Friday night. He had made his own overnight arrangements and attended his party’s ard fheis in a private capacity the following day.
The city incurred no additional costs by his use of the car, he insisted.
City Hall moved to defend the matter last night after Mr Fitzgerald, who was not wearing the mayoral chain, was spotted getting into the 172-C-1 car outside the RDS at around 9pm on Saturday, after party leader Micheál Martin’s address.
Worker’s Party Cllr Ted Tynan described it as an abuse of the office and said the mayor could have made his own travel arrangements following the political event.
But Mr Moynihan said the matter had been discussed at length in the days before and the city executive signed off on allowing the car remain in Dublin on the Saturday.
In a statement, he said the Lord Mayor had been invited by Bohemians FC to attend a pre-match reception with the Lord Mayor of Dublin ahead of the Cork City FC clash with Bohemians in Dalymount Park on Friday.
“It was appropriate and expected that the Lord Mayor would then attend the match in his capacity as First Citizen of Cork so that he would be present if Cork City were to win the match and therefore the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division for the first time in 12 years,” said Mr Moynihan.
“In normal circumstances, the Lord Mayor would have been driven back to Cork city directly after the match.
“However, as he was due to attend the Fianna Fáil ard fheis in Dublin the following day — and as he had made his own personal overnight arrangements — council executive deemed it legitimate, under the circumstances, that the Lord Mayor’s car would remain at the RDS all day before transporting the Lord Mayor back to Cork following the Fianna Fáil Leader’s speech. Cork City Council in making this decision did not incur any additional expense.”
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