Adoption board members attend only fraction of meetings in 5-year period

SOME Adoption Board members attended just a fraction of board meetings between 2005 and 2009, a period in which the organisation was embroiled in high-profile scandals.

Figures released to the Irish Examiner show two appointees to the previous board with links to Fianna Fáil, Fachtna Whittle and Tony Lynam-Loane, attended the least number of board meetings in the five-year period.

Two other members of the eight member board, Dr Valerie O’Brien and Orlaith Traynor, attended fewer than 65% of the meetings held in this time.

Out of 207 meetings held by the board between 2005 and 2009, Mr Whittle attended 70, or just 33% of all meetings. Mr Whittle’s lowest level of attendance came in 2005 when he was present at just seven of the 45 meetings held by the board that year, and in 2006 when he attended six out of the 41 meetings held that year. He claimed no expenses during this period.

Mr Whittle is principal solicitor with Haughton McCarroll solicitors and is a former Fianna Fáil councillor on Wicklow County Council and running mate of Fianna Fáil Minister of State for European Affairs Dick Roche.

Mr Whittle previously featured in an RTÉ Prime Time planning exposé. In 2005, Wicklow County Council’s ethics committee found he had acted unwisely but not in breach of the ethics legislation. However, this decision was challenged in the High Court by the Green Party’s Deirdre de Búrca.

The next poorest attendance record was held by Tony Lynam-Loane, who made it to just 86 out of 207 meetings between 2005 and 2009. Between 2007 and 2009, he attended just 17 meetings out of the 121 held — giving him an attendance record of just 14%.

In 2008, he was present at just two of the 43 meetings held that year.

Mr Lynam-Loane is an accountant and was appointed to the Adoption Board in 2004. Between 2005 and 2009, he claimed just more than €3,000 in expenses.

The most expenses claimed by a single member of the board between 2005 and 2010 was €71,069 by Assumpta Hogan.

A statement from the Adoption Authority said expense claims would largely be made “for domestic travel to/from meetings and for any domestic subsistence where applicable”.

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