Councillors’ expenses and allowances almost tip the €1.25 million mark

The annual allowances and expenses paid to the elected members of Mayo County Council came in at just under €1.25 million for the year just gone. The €1,244,587.37 paid out was split among the 39 people who were councillors during the year. The top 10 earners collected €524,889.25 among them. The top 10 earners though does contain seven members who either retired from their seats or lost their seats in the local elections held in June last year and were entitled to gratuities for their service, as well as the two councillors who held the position of cathaoirleach during the year.

Former Fianna Fáil councillor Tim Quinn topped the list with a total of €67,462.91. He was closely followed by Frank Chambers who collected €65,751.27, while John Cribben who took over as Cathaoirleach after the elections was paid out €60,751.27 coming in at number three on the list. A total of €280,640.99 was paid out in gratuities to the eight former members of the council who retired or lost their seats in 2009.

Conferences

Expenses for conferences in Ireland, travel and subsistence cost the council a grand total of €106,024.81 last year. At the top of the conference expenses list was former Fianna Fáil councillor Johnny O’Malley who was paid €8,380.25 over the six months he held his seat in 2009. Independent councillor Michael Holmes was second on the list with a total of €6,838.90. The rest of the top five on the list was made up of former councillor Frank Chambers, Cllr Tom Connolly and Cllr Gerry Coyle. Of the 39 councillors who held seats in 2009 10 members submitted no claims in this section.

Phone allowances

A total of €11,371.94 was paid out in mobile phone allowances by the council, with only 17 of the 39 who held seats in 2009 claiming for the mobile phone allowance. The top three claimants were all Fianna Fáil councillors who lost their seats in the elections. Michael Carty was paid €1,466.30, Pat McHugh €1,445.30, and Johnnie O’Malley €1,263.38 until they lost their seats in June.

Travel abroad

Trips abroad cost the council a total of €5,770.50 for the year with eight councillors making trips abroad on council business. Cllr Joe Mellet, who was cathaoirleach at time, along with Jimmy Maloney and Austin Francis O’Malley made a promotional visit to New York and Philadelphia which cost the council €715.58 per councillor, a total of €2,146.74. Cllr Cyril Burke, Cllr John Cribben, and Cllr Annie May Reape all attended the Mayo Society of Greater Cleveland ball at a cost of €335.57 per councillor. However there was a difference of €347.66 between what one councillor claimed for a EU briefing programme in Brussels compared to another. Cllr Joe Mellet claimed €668.55 for the briefing programme, while Cllr Patsy O’Brien claimed €932.29, and former Cllr Michael Carty claimed €1,016.21 for the briefing programme, almost €350 more than Cllr Mellet’s claim.

 

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