Councillors claim €157,076 in travel expenses over six months

MEMBERS of Limerick County Council claimed €157,076 in conference expenses during the first six months of the year.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that former chairman Eddie Wade (FF) topped the list, claiming €15,961 for the period January to June when he was council chairman.

Of the 28 councillors, Fine Gael’s Kieran O’Donnell was bottom of the expenses table and did not claim anything to attend conferences or for external travel.

As well as their expenses to attend council meetings, each councillor can also claim €9,300 this year to attend conferences.

Next to Mr Wade at the top of the expenses table is the Fine Gael leader on the council, Cllr Pat O’Donovan, who claimed €9,280.77 in conference/travel expenses during the first six months of the year.

He was closely followed in third place by Cllr Eddie Creighton (PD), who claimed €9,112.73.

David Naughton of Fine Gael, who claimed a total of €5,553.52, drew down over €2,000 to attend two conferences in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, in February.

Cllr Pat McAuliffe (FF), who claimed €7,187, cost the council €855 to attend a conference in Drogheda entitled Nuclear Energy: Does it have a Future?

Cllr John Gallahue (FF), who claimed €7566.19, again flew the council flag in distant lands this year.

Last year he went on a council trip to China and his expenses for the first six months of this year include a payment of €2,268.17 for a two-week trip to Chicago and Toledo in March.

Cllr Francis Foley (FF) claimed €4,447.88 and also showed a willingness to travel North, having attended conferences in Antrim and Letterkenny last January and February, setting the council back €2,482.47.

Mr Wade claimed an additional €5,369 expenses and councillors Brigid Teefy, Kevin Sheahan, Mary Jackman and Michael Collins claimed additional expenses of €1,315 each.

Mr Sheahan, who attended 10 conferences, and Cllr John Griffin, who attended seven conferences, did not claim any subsistence or mileage for attending these conferences and the outlay for them was conference fee money only.

The above figures include conference fees which were paid directly by the council to the conference organisers.

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