Friday 21 July 2017

TD coughs up cash to campaign team

Mr Butler was instructed to hand over more than €3,000 to two people directly involved in his successful 2011 General Election campaign
Mr Butler was instructed to hand over more than €3,000 to two people directly involved in his successful 2011 General Election campaign
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Fine Gael TD Ray Butler was forced to cough up money owed to key members of his general election team after they secured judgments against the politician.

Mr Butler was instructed to hand over more than €3,000 to two people directly involved in his successful 2011 General Election campaign. Publicly available records show the Meath West TD's former director of elections, Ger Reilly, secured a €1,795 judgment against him last month.

Mr Butler said the judgment related to rent owed on a premises he was using in Trim in the run-up to the election.

However, he insisted he paid the money despite believing it was not his bill in the first place.

"It was somebody else's bill but I was saddled with it and had to go and pay it," Mr Butler said last week.

A source close to Mr Reilly said the bill related to a number of loans he provided Mr Butler over the course of several years.

In March, Mr Butler was ordered by the courts to pay Pauline Baker, who worked as his constituency assistant for a number of years, €1,396.

He said this related to mileage he owed his former assistant, but a friend of Ms Baker's said the judgment related to consultancy work.

A Sunday Independent investigation previously revealed Mr Butler submitted invoices for musicians which were incorrectly marked 'paid' to receive taxpayer's money from Meath County Council for a St Patrick's Day parade in Trim.

After he was contacted by this newspaper, Mr Butler paid three local bands who he previously claimed had been paid for their performances.

Meath County Council carried out a review of the funding allocated to the 2013 festival. The review found the festival committee initially applied for a €22,000 grant but was awarded €8,000, with €4,000 paid in advance.

The festival came in under budget and the committee only submitted receipts for the €4,000 advancement. The council said the matter is closed but a spokeswoman said none of the other receipts submitted by the committee were audited.

Sunday Independent

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