Clare mayor pays for NY trip

THE mayor of Clare Cllr Christy Curtin is financing his own costs of representing the county for a week-long St Patrick’s Day trip to New York.

Although part of the official Clare Co Council delegation, the independent councillor yesterday confirmed he was financing his own trip.

Speaking from New York, Mr Curtin said: “I believe it is right and proper in these austere times that I should pay for the trip myself.”

He estimated that with flights, accommodation and other expenses, his final bill will top €2,000.

He receives an annual mayoral allowance of €27,000 before tax and he said yesterday: “I am well remunerated for my job as mayor and I believe it’s fair that I fund the Patrick’s Day trip myself. We have a heavy schedule for the week meeting the diaspora and I will be making the case for Clare with all of the groups that we meet.”

Labour TD for Clare Michael McNamara yesterday praised the mayor for his initiative. He said: “Cllr Curtin is leading by example. We don’t have enough of what he is doing.”

Clare County Manager, Tom Coughlan is to accompany Mr Curtin.

The figures show that last year, by virtue of his role as mayor since June, Mr Curtin received one of the highest amounts in expenses and allowances among Clare’s 32 councillors, receiving €40,701.

The break with tradition by Mr Curtin in paying for the US trip himself follows Local Government Auditor Thomas O’Callaghan raising questions over the spend of €48,000 by Clare councillors in going to just three conferences in 2009.

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