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Sunday 18 February 2018

Fifteen councillors rack up more than €450,000 in expenses

Paul Melia

GALWAY city councillors were paid more than €450,000 in expenses last year, an average of just over €30,000 each.

New figures show €455,863 was claimed by 15 councillors in allowances and conference expenses during 2010, but the bill will increase because some have yet to submit claims.

Most councillors also hold separate full-time jobs.

However, Fine Gael's Padraig Conneely said he was "too busy" to claim mileage and accommodation after attending six conferences during the year.

Other councillors failed to collect payments for mobile phone and broadband bills.

Some of the conferences attended by councillors focused on media skills and professional development.

Up until now information about councillors' payments could only be accessed through Freedom of Information requests. Last August, the Irish Independent revealed that councillors across the State claimed €75.6m in expenses over a two-year period.

Galway City councillors claimed €517,302 in 2009 and €501,290 in 2008. This included expenses and payments made to councillors involved in city and county councils, regional assemblies, regional authorities, fishery boards, health forums, universities, colleges and enterprise boards.

Galway city has become the second council in the State to publish the amounts on its website. Last month, Clare County Council revealed that its 32 councillors claimed €953,000 in payments in 2010 -- an average of €29,781.25 each.

County and city councillors receive numerous payments, the largest being the representational payment of around €17,000, which is subject to tax.

The highest claim was submitted by independent councillor Declan McDonnell, who claimed €56,390.75. He was mayor during the first half of 2010, receiving an extra allowance of €24,000 -- 90pc of which was subject to tax.

Irish Independent

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