Saturday 10 December 2016

Politician whose car was off the road repays expenses

Barry Duggan

Published 08/12/2011 | 05:00

A FORMER senator has repaid further travel expenses to a third national body -- which he claimed while his car was off the road.

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Fine Gael councillor Pat Kennedy refunded the Local Authority Members' Association (LAMA) more than €1,200 last week.

Prior to this, Mr Kennedy refunded two other bodies for publicly elected representatives €2,600 after the Irish Independent revealed he repaid Limerick City Council €1,690, which he claimed in travel expenses while his car was at a mechanic's garage.

To date, he has repaid more than €5,500 to the three bodies and Limerick City Council after senior management at the local authority examined the expenses he claimed from October 2009 to March 2010.

During that six-month period, Mr Kennedy's car was off the road following an accident.

Last month, the politician repaid the Association of County and City Councils about €2,388 in 'mileage expenses' and returned more than €200 to the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland.

Mr Kennedy serves with all three national bodies for elected local authority members.

A spokesman for LAMA confirmed to the Irish Independent last night that Mr Kennedy repaid €1,236.15.

The spokesman said that while the matter was receiving attention from the officer board of LAMA, "Cllr Kennedy came forward and refunded" the expenses.

It is understood he claimed the €1,236 for travel expenses to each of the LAMA monthly meetings held around the country. It is unknown where or when the meetings took place.

Mr Kennedy was contacted for comment on the expenses saga yesterday, but did not reply.

The issue regarding his refund to Limerick City Council has been referred to the ethics watchdog, the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO).

Mr Kennedy's defence has since been forwarded to the local authority's ethics register and also to SIPO.

Mistake

In papers seen by the Irish Independent, Mr Kennedy claims he has no case to answer after repaying the council's expenses, which he said he claimed by "an honest and genuine mistake".

He added that he was "surprised" a complaint had been made and said the expenses issue was raised in April 2010 and "I dealt with the matter appropriately and without delay to the satisfaction of the city management at the time".

Mr Kennedy said his wife drove him most of the time that his car was off the road and his garage made a car available to him on a number of occasions.

Last night, a spokesman for Fine Gael said the party did not comment on internal matters.

Irish Independent

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