Monday 27 February 2017

Councillor wants inquiry into 'error' on TD's festival invoice

Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

Ray Butler
Ray Butler

A councillor called for an inquiry to be held to "clarify all the facts" after it emerged a TD submitted invoices to receive taxpayer funding for a St Patrick's Day festival, which stated wrongly that money had been "paid with thanks" to local musicians.

Fine Gael deputy Ray Butler submitted invoices for €1,000 to Meath County Council on behalf of the Trim St Patrick's Day festival committee in 2013.

Two of the invoices were for local bands, claiming that both groups were "paid with thanks".

However, the bands protested they had not received any money and one group said they had not been expecting any payment.

Mr Butler, from the Meath West constituency, denied that anything inappropriate had happened and protested that a "clerical error" had occurred. The bands were recently paid, two years after the festival.

Meath county councillor Sean Drew said he now wants to "clarify all the facts" as it concerns "public funds".

Cllr Drew, who also sits on the council's audit committee, said the "transactions would require discussion at the next (audit committee) meeting" if there is no clarification made before then.

"To be fair to all concerned, I would think that an initial inquiry to clarify all the facts would be appropriate, bearing in mind that it is public funds that are being discussed

"We certainly don't want any doubt, both from Deputy Butler's concern and also from the local authority's perspective either," the Fianna Fáil representative said last night.

"If there is any question mark against any expenditure, we just need to get it confirmed that it is authorised. And that if it is a clerical error, so be it and we can all move on."

Irish Independent

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