Thursday 14 December 2017

Scribbled note from trip that cost taxpayer €724

The report Fine Gael councillor Declan Flanagan filed after a two-day trip to a conference in Killarney, Co Kerry.
The report Fine Gael councillor Declan Flanagan filed after a two-day trip to a conference in Killarney, Co Kerry.

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

IT may be one of the most expensive pieces of paper that sat on the shelves in the offices of Dublin City Council last year.

Councillor Declan Flanagan of Fine Gael filed this report to council officials following a two-day conference in Killarney – and received €724.42 in return.

The scribbled note states that the Artane representative took part in a discussion around community involvement and development. Asked to give any recommendations to the council following the two-day affair, Mr Flanagan wrote: "Very informative. Insightful conference. Plenty of examples given. Good notes given."

Mr Flanagan's report is one of dozens filed last year following conference travel in Ireland that cost the taxpayer thousands.

But the Fine Gael representative, inset, is not alone in providing scant detail on an official council trip. Among the councillors who did not provide recommendations are Labour's Andrew Montague and Dermot Lacey, Sinn Fein's Larry O'Toole and Independent Councillor Paddy Bourke.

Some councillors go to the trouble of filing lengthy and typed reports. But others present scribbled reports – some no more than two sentences.

The reports, which were released under the Freedom of Information Act, allow councillors to summarise their experiences and to make any recommendations to the council's protocol committee.

Sinn Fein Councillor Anthony Connaghan clocked up €517 in expenses following a two-day conference on Drug and Alcohol abuse in Tipperary.

He filed a joint report on behalf of himself and Independent Councillor Christy Burke, in which he wrote: "It would be advisable for public reps to liaise with workers at the coldface (sic) and try to form new policy to deal with this problem."

Fine Gael councillors Edie Wynne and Mary O'Shea, who both announced last year that they are stepping down, later went on to attend a conference on council budgets in Killarney. They both filed typed reports but only produced one recommendation between them.

Irish Independent

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