Councillors asked to give up junkets as bill for 10 members hits e20,000 for next three months

IT will cost the taxpayer €20,000 to send 10 county councilors to 43 junkets over the next three months.

IT will cost the taxpayer €20,000 to send 10 county councilors to 43 junkets over the next three months.

Sinn Fein councillor Imelda Munster has strongly criticised this expense and described the councilors taking part as “greedy and full of hypocrisy”.

Cllr Munster raised the matter at a special meeting of the council.

“It was on the agenda to make sure these councillors could avail of all the conferences in September.

“I asked the chairperson Cllr Oliver Tully to read out the list of conferences and the names of councillors who would attend them.

He refused and along with Fine Gael Cllrs Anthony Donohue and Finnan McCoy argued that this would be a security risk as their houses could be burgled while they were away on these junkets.

“Fine Gael councillors between them applied to attend 29 conferences over a two month period of September and October at a cost of €12,604.00 to the local taxpayer.

“Three independent councillors applied to attend 14 conferences at cost of €7,492.00.

“A conference in Brussels - which was not recommended by the corporate policy group - was also passed as two Fine Gael and one independent councillor applied to attend.

“It is an oversea conference in Brussels for which councillors can claim €1,247 plus their airfare.”

“The total cost to the taxpayer for these 10 councillors to attend 43 junkets between them over a two month period is €21,343.

Cllr Munster said that at a time when ordinary people are being taxed to the hilt and there were cutbacks in public services left, right and centre, these councillors “are still having a ball”.

“Its nothing other than pure greed,” she said.

“I am calling on Fine Gael councillors and others to stop this obscene junket culture and to give their conference allowances over to community groups like other councillors do.

“They should think of how community and voluntary groups are struggling to survive and to stop this culture of self gain and having a ball at taxpayers expense,” Cllr Munster said.