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Irish Water pays to fly director to and from London

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Flights: Regina Finn

Flights: Regina Finn

Flights: Regina Finn

IRISH Water is paying the expenses of one its directors to fly over and back from London to attend meetings.

It may be the era of conference calls and Skype, but it seems Irish Water likes to do it the old-fashioned way.

It has emerged that just three Irish Water directors claimed any expenses from the utility company in the period since it was brought under Freedom of Information (FoI) laws in January 2014.

One director has been paid 10-times more in expenses than any other director of the company, the Herald can reveal.

CLAIMED

Regina Finn was paid €2,474 in expenses between March and October this year - the total claimed by all 12 of the directors was €2,981.

A spokesperson for Irish Water said that Ms Finn was also head of the English and Welsh water regulator Ofwat and that the expenses related to travelling to Ireland for board meetings.

The bulk of Ms Finn's claims were made up of taxi fares, flights and other travel expenses. In the period, there were six such trips, with the first on March 25, 2014 and the last one on October 14, 2014.

The expenses followed a similar pattern with Ms Finn submitting a receipt for a taxi from Paddington Station for under €14 and a taxi to Dublin Airport for just less than €20.

Ms Finn also submitted receipts for the Heathrow Express train, which costs €42.79 and her return air fare is also claimed back, which most recently cost €251.69. She has also submitted receipts for taxis to Irish Water, which most recently came in at €20.

In total, the most expensive trip was in September this year, when it cost almost €520 for Ms Finn to attend a meeting at Irish Water, which is based in Talbot Street, Dublin.

Irish Water has delayed the release of the full extent of directors' expenses.

PREPARATIONS

In January, the Dail passed a motion to bring Irish Water under the FoI Act and gave it 30 days to make preparations.

It said that the law would be retrospective, meaning records created form the date that Irish Water was established should be accessible.

But in a highly unusual turn, rather than ask the Herald to specify a particular date, an FoI officer said that "legal advice" had been taken that if no date was specified, only records from March onwards should be released.

hnews@herald.ie


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