Expenses and allowances for 55 county councillors in Cork amounted to €1.7m last year. Most of the spend, €1,429,646, was allocated for representative payments and allowances.
Additional allowances of €4,491 were given to the chair of each of the council’s eight municipal districts, while a further €41,000 was paid out in special allowances to all the chairmen of the council’s special purposes committees.
No individual breakdown was given on what each councillor received in total for 2015. However, the annual report listed that €138,921 was spent on training and conferences. In total, councillors attended 35 conferences, including in China and America.
There were three trips to the US at which one councillor attended each one along with council officials. There was no breakdown in an annual Cork County Council report of how much expenses were paid on each trip to either the councillor or accompany officials involved.
The trips included Chicago and New York for St Patrick’s Day parades in 2015 while, a few days earlier, another council delegation went to Newport, Rhode Island. Between May 2 and 6, a delegation also attended a Boston Irish Social Club event. A further trip to Boston, attended by two councillors, took place between November 30 and December 4.
One councillor went with officials on a trip to improve trade links with the Chinese province of Jiangsu, which lasted a week in November.
The council sent one representative to three conferences in Brussels as part of a European drive to improve energy conservation. Another was sent to Stockholm, Sweden, for a conference entitled ‘The Grow Smarter Project’, which was held on February 9 to 11. There were also four trips to London, including for the annual Cork Association dinner.
The remainder of conferences were domestic, including one in Co Donegal. Six councillors travelled to a Crime Prevention and Community Safety Conference in Galway on May 8/9 last year, while three attended there on July 31/August 1 for a conference ‘Changes to Community Development.’
Two each travelled to Galway for a conference on the new Housing Act; to Clonakilty for the New Companies Act and, separately, to the West Cork town for A Practical Guide to the Budget.
Councillors also travelled en mass to 30 different training courses in 2015. The largest contingent was 25 to Kilkenny in October for the Local Authorities Municipal Association’s autumn seminar, 23 to Kilkenny in May for a session on Local Community Development Companies, 22 travelled to Limerick and, 22 also, to Waterford in June for a finance and housing training session.
In February, 24 registered in Killarney for a training seminar, ‘Governance of Local Authorities.’
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