Income and expenses of town councillors to be made public

TOWN councillors in Killarney are to have their income and expenses published “to take the mystery” out of what elected representatives get for their services.

A motion by Labour councillor Sean O’Grady that the council publish on a half-yearly, or yearly, basis the income and expenses paid to each elected member was passed unanimously at this week’s council meeting.

The councillor said he put down the motion in the interests of transparency and felt the council should not be awaiting for journalists to get the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Mr O’Grady said: “There should be no necessity for the media to go to such lengths. In any case, the public have a right to know.

“Publishing this information would also help put councillors forward in a more positive light and would take the mystery out of all this.”

He was seconded by fellow Labour councillor Sean Counihan who attacked sections of the national media. “I would say some of the people I read are among the most right-wing individuals I’ve ever come across in my whole life,” he said.

“National journalists have a responsibility to give the news and they also have a responsibility to present it in a fair way.”

Town council manager John Breen said every decision was open to scrutiny and every council had to maintain a register of councillors’ expenses and attendance which was publicly available.

“There’s no difficulty in making the information [requested by Mr O’Grady]available,” Mr Breen stated.

Meanwhile, the council will shortly be considering its 2010 budget, expected to be tightest for many years.

Tourism interests in Killarney are already seeking a “break” on various charges imposed by the council for its services.

Fianna Fáil councillor John O’Donoghue, also a local hotelier, suggested there would be no increase in commercial rates.

Separately, Conor O’Connell, president of the Kerry branch of Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), said many people in the industry would face ruin unless there was a substantial decrease in rates.


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