Laois councillors ran up €8,800 bill at housing meeting in Donegal

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois County Council HQ Portlaoise

Laois County Council.

Laois county councillors ran up expenses of more than €8,800 attending a conference on housing last year, according to annual published figures.

The accounts also reveal that a total of €522,606 in pay and expenses was spread out among the 19 sitting councillors in 2017. Of the total, €58,769 was reimbursed in travel and subsistence expenses incurred by councillors on conference trips outside Laois.

The most costly conference was a Housing Assistance Payment conference in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

Twelve of the council's 19 councillors attended the meeting. Between travel expenses and other costs, the total incurred was €8,828.76*. The highest single bill incurred was €834 while the lowest was nearly €590. The conference fee per councillor was €145.

The breakdown is:

Cllr James Kelly (Ind) - €826.38

Cllr Paddy Bracken (FF) - €696.25

Cllr Mary Sweeney (FG) - €700.25

Cllr Jerry Lodge (FF) - €674.74

Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald (FF) €764.94

Cllr John Moran (FG) - €810.37

Cllr Ben Brennan (Ind) - €816.28

Cllr John King (FG) - €801.57

Cllr Padraig Fleming (FF) - €587.45

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley (SF) - €753.55

Cllr Seamus McDonald (FF) - €735.24

Cllr Tom Mulhall (FG) - €661.74

Conferences represented just over 10% of the cost of county councillors last year. Apart from the cost of attending conferences, each poltician got a representational payment of €16,566.06 and an allowance of €4,415.18.

Poll toppers Cllr Aidan Mullins (Sinn Féin) and Cllrs Willie Aird and David Goodwin ( Fine Gael) ran up no conference expenses in 2017 . Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Padraig Fleming said conferences were useful for training and getting the bigger picture.

*A front page story in this week's Leinster Express print edition did not include expenses claimed by Cllr Tom Mulhall.