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Wednesday 24 April 2019

Councillor repays €2,600 after falsely claiming expenses

Barry Duggan

A FORMER senator has repaid a further €2,600 to two national bodies after he claimed mileage while his car was off the road.

Fine Gael councillor Pat Kennedy had previously refunded travel expenses of almost €1,700 18 months ago.

The Irish Independent can reveal Mr Kennedy repaid the Association of County and City Councils (ACCC) about €2,388 in 'mileage expenses' earlier this month.

And in a separate repayment, Mr Kennedy recently returned just over €200 to the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland (AMAI). Last year, he refunded Limerick City Council €1,690 in travel expenses.

He had claimed the expenses over a six-month period while his car was at a mechanic's garage following an accident.

The two latest refunds were made after the Irish Independent revealed Mr Kennedy had reimbursed the council following an examination of his expenses by senior management.

ACCC president Michael O'Brien confirmed that the councillor refunded the association €2,388 on November 9 after the ACCC contacted him.

Mr Kennedy had previously declared to the Motor Taxation Office of Limerick City Council that his Mercedes was off the road and was not in use from October 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010. However, he subsequently claimed expenses for travel to five conferences and seminars in February and March of last year -- in the Mercedes.

After an examination of his expenses, he refunded Limerick City Council almost €1,700.

Calls to Mr Kennedy went unreturned over the weekend.

He is on the ACCC executive for the third year in a row.

The ACCC is an umbrella organisation for 883 councillors, who sit on the country's 34 county and five city councils.

Mr Kennedy is also a member of AMAI. It is understood he repaid just over €200 for expenses claimed to an AMAI event in December 2009. Mr Kennedy is on the Standing Council of the AMAI, which represents more than 800 members of town and borough councils.

The Local Authority Members Association (LAMA) -- of which he is also a representative -- is also examining the issue.

Irish Independent

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