Ex-FF senator with Dublin homes claimed €146,059 for Donegal

A FORMER Fianna Fáil senator was still using his Dublin home for personal correspondence this summer and not the Donegal house he used to claim mileage from.

This was six years after the ex-senator, Don Lydon, asked the Houses of the Oireachtas to switch his official address to Killybegs. The change allowed him to claim far greater mileage for three-and-a-half years.

Mr Lydon was paid €146,059 between January 2004 and July 2007 to cover the costs of travelling between Killybegs and Dublin.

It happened after he wrote to the Oireachtas to change his “normal residence” to Donegal from Stillorgan Park Avenue.

And this week he said he had made Killybegs his permanent home.

However, in July he and his wife, Maeve, applied for planning permission to extend a house they owned at Mount Merrion.

For this he gave the same Dublin address he had used prior to 2004: Santo Antonio, Stillorgan Park Avenue, Stillorgan.

This was the one he gave to the planning tribunal when he appeared in April 2003 to answer allegations that he accepted a bribe from lobbyist Frank Dunlop.

In February 2004, after he gave up his county council seat, he wrote to the Oireachtas to say he had changed his normal residence to Murray Lodge, Killybegs.

He had grown up in the area and he had told the Tribunal he considered himself a Donegal man.

Mr Lydon had been involved in this property for some time before he wrote to the Oireachtas. And he applied to Donegal County Council for permission to upgrade Murray Lodge in 2001.

This week he told the Irish Times he had moved permanently to Killybegs in 2004.

He could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

Between 2004 and 2007 his annual mileage and subsistence bill ranged from €37,000 to €39,000.

This was far greater than Dublin-based senators who were only entitled to a daily allowance of €61.53.

Last year he drew down an Oireachtas pension of €37,304.

Mr Lydon has become the latest senator with strong Dublin links to have claimed mileage from addresses well outside the capital.

Recently the Seanad Committee on Members’ Interests suspended Sen Ivor Callely for 20 days for claiming mileage from Kilcrohane, west Cork, rather than his Clontarf home.

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