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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Former senator won't face probe over €146,000 expense claims

Anita Guidera and Fionnan Sheahan

Published 07/10/2010 | 05:00

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FORMER Fianna Fail senator Don Lydon will not face any inquiry over his expenses claims of nearly €150,000 after changing his home address from Dublin to Donegal.

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But the house which the now-retired senator claimed became his official residence in January 2004 now lies empty and derelict.

Mr Lydon's change of address from Dublin was somewhat similar in nature to that of Ivor Callely.

However, Mr Callely is currently appealing a 20-day suspension for deliberately misrepresenting his normal place of residence.

There is no complaint of any wrongdoing against Mr Lydon.

Mr Lydon, a sometime controversial figure, changed his address from Dublin to Donegal in 2004 and subsequently claimed €146,059 in travel and subsistence expenses, as he was able to claim a mileage rate.

But there is no provision for looking into the expenses claims of former members of the Oireachtas, so Mr Lydon will not face any queries.

Yesterday, Mr Lydon's Donegal home at Murray Lodge, Killybegs, lay empty and derelict, its front door boarded up, ivy growing over its windows, fallen roof slates on the ground and its garden overgrown.

Residence

Mr Lydon, a senator for 20 years until 2007 and a councillor on Dublin County Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council informed the travel and expenses office of the Oireachtas in February 2004 that he had changed his place of residence from Stillorgan Park Avenue in Dublin 4 to Murray Lodge, Killybegs, Co Donegal.

The change of address enabled Mr Lydon to claim €146,059 in mileage and subsistence expenses for the following three and a half years until 2007.

An only child, he had been reared in Murray Lodge, a listed building dating back to 1860, which once housed the original primary school for the small fishing town.

The son of a garda, he was educated in St Eunan's college in Letterkenny and, later, at University College Galway, UCD and Trinity College and worked as a consultant psychologist at St John of God's Hospital in Stillorgan.

The 72-year-old retired senator also owns a holiday home with sea views at St John's Point, about 12km east of Killybegs, which he is believed to have purchased some time around 2004.

Irish Independent

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