Cork City Councillors Conference Expenses

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The Evening Echo* did a Freedom of Information on the amount claimed by Councillors on Cork City Council to attend conferences since they were elected. The expenses over the last 15 months are:

  1. Kenneth O’Flynn (FF) €14,333.86
  2. Denis O’Flynn (Lab) €13,546.24
  3. Sean Martin (FF) €12,418.20
  4. Michael Ahern (Lab) €11,467.09
  5. Pat Gosch (FG) € 8,889.10
  6. Tim Brosnan (FF) €8,786.78
  7. Terry Shannon (FF) €8,742.72
  8. Michael O’Connell (Lab) €8,518.03
  9. Brian Birmingham (FG) €8,168.55
  10. Mary Shields (FF) €8,101.50
  11. Dara Murphy (FG) €8,051.92
  12. Catherine Clancy (Lab) €7,387.55
  13. John Kelleher (Lab) €6,497.33
  14. Emmet O’Halloran (FG) €6,307.58
  15. Laura McGonigle (FG) €5,221.71
  16. Lorraine Kingston (Lab) €5,026.99
  17. Dave McCarthy (Ind) €4,936.75
  18. Tony Fitzgerald (FF) €3,236.30
  19. Ger Gibbons (Lab) €1,939.27
  20. Jim Corr (FG) €1,888.34
  21. John Buttimer (FG) €1,883.83
  22. Donal Counihan (Former FF Councillor) €677.40
  23. Des Cahill €459.53

There were no expenses claimed by:

  • Ted Tynan, WP
  • Mick Finn, Ind
  • Mick Barry, SP
  • Kieran McCathy, Ind
  • Chris O’Leary, SF
  • Fiona Kerins, SF
  • Jonathan O’Brien, SF
  • Thomas Gould, SF
  • Henry Cremin, SF

While Des Cahill does sneak in at the end of the table he repaid part of his expenses as he did not stay overnight. He repaid €339.53, meaning he only claimed €120.

This highlights a flaw in the system. Councillors are able to claim the expenses before they go to a conference. This should not be the case. All expenses should only be payable on proof of attendance and with receipts.

I was glad to see only two Fine Gael Councillors in the top 10, it shows that they are trying to keep the expenses down.

* A number of changes were made to the table as it was published in the Evening Echo. They list Cllr. Dave McCarthy as being a member of Fianna Fail, he was elected as an Independent in 2009 and has not rejoined the party. Also the positions of John Buttimer and Jim Corr have been reversed as Jim’s expenses were higher then John’s.

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Fianna Fail Senators Caught “Flipping”

Remember during the expense scandal in the UK that the big issue was over the “flipping” of the designations of first and second homes. Well it would seem that two Fianna Fail Senators were doing just that over here.

Ivor Callely, who could be expelled from the Fianna Fail Parliamentry Party over his flipping of his homes. Despite his home being in Dublin, Mr Callely was claiming his expenses based on his second home in West Cork.

It  now seems that Senator Larry Butler was up to something similar. He was claiming his expenses based on a house in Kilkenny and not his home in Foxrock.

Should we be surprised that Senators Callely and Butler were gaming the system? Are others also doing it?

Personally I think they should both resign for abusing the system. As Guido would say, “they were troughing it”!

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