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Fingal Co Council publish Councillor Expenses

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  • I would be happy enough with most of them. I got to know one Councillor during his time and he put in an amazing amount of hours and work for all the community.

    Plenty of Airport conferences ok. It does seem some went on trips which affected a only their area, Anne Devitt must be an expert on Airport regions, or a shareholder in Ryanair!!!
    Tom Kelliher had 3 nice trips to the deep South, must be honary Corkman at this stage.

    A lot of the seminars have fancy titles but maybe Fingal should look at what actually happened and supply a little piece on the value of each conference to Fingal. If it is worth it I have no problem but if its a junkett thats a different matter.

    I see 2 went to the Willie Clancy summer school in Miltown Malbay, why not drop in to the Scoil Samhra Chris Langan in Rush, It would have saved just aover €2,000.

    Quite a few went to seminars in Mayo and Waterford aimed at Cllrs, Why not host these in Fingal and invite Meath and Louth? Would do away with overnights and cut down considerably on expenses.




  • well i know for one that if i had a course with work in a different county i got up early in the morning. went to the conference . and then drove home that evening and was in work the next morning!




  • Dont think they will be attending that many conferences this year, or in the near future. You worked in the private sector? Different mentality altogether.

    Martron, your way will be the way in future. Maybe tho some will see the value of having more seminars locally and inviting some from the private sector along who cant afford to upskill their workers.

    The only gravy some people will see in the next few years is if they bring back the Bisto ads




  • LeoB wrote: »
    Plenty of Airport conferences ok. It does seem some went on trips which affected a only their area, Anne Devitt must be an expert on Airport regions
    Actually, she is. She is President of ARC International, aimed at areas outside capital cities who have an airport within their jurisdiction. All about job generation, airport growth, sustainability etc.
    LeoB wrote: »
    Tom Kelliher had 3 nice trips to the deep South, must be honary Corkman at this stage.

    I think he IS a corkman.
    LeoB wrote: »
    A lot of the seminars have fancy titles but maybe Fingal should look at what actually happened and supply a little piece on the value of each conference to Fingal.

    Under legislation, Councillors are required to write a report on the content of the seminar which is submitted to the Council in order to be refunded the cost of travel, subsistence etc.
    LeoB wrote: »
    Quite a few went to seminars in Mayo and Waterford aimed at Cllrs, Why not host these in Fingal and invite Meath and Louth? Would do away with overnights and cut down considerably on expenses.

    Strangely, most seminars are not in Dublin or the region. As they are organised by private companies we in Fingal have no say on where a conference is held.

    I post my annual expenses (June) on my website.




  • I would pose the question as to why some councillors have not attended even one conference?

    Surely they should be looking to expand their knowledge base for the good of the people of Fingal. Especially in these tough times they should be finding ways to diversify and make Fingal as a region stand out from the rest. I'm sure that the councillors that have attended conferences have brought the benefits back to the region and are not doing it in most cases for the good of their health.


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  • What I would like to know is who is booking their flights? did anyone see the costs? These conferences are scheduled months in advance!

    One example I looked at was Kieran Byrne (lord mayor?)
    http://www.fingalcoco.ie/YourLocalCouncil/LocalDemocracy/CouncillorsExpenditureElections09/FileDownload,31062,en.xls

    He flew to berlin on a sunday(6th) in september 2009 and flew back on a wednesday, the flights are costed at €337.07

    I just checked ryan air's flights to Berlin for September this year,
    Going out on Sunday the 5th and coming back on Wedensday the 8th the cost less booking fee and bags is a grand total €82.59 now add say (being generous) €50 for bags and booking fee this comes to €132.59

    A little time spent finding the cheapest flights results in a massive drop in expenses related to flights.......... more than 50% cheaper..

    If a saving of even 30% is produced by across the board with efficient flight booking over a year that would save at least a €1000 on the seminars flights alone!!!!!!

    It all adds up and I would rather that grand go to a local club than inefficient bookings.... a private sector company would never allow it.




  • yeah leo i am private sector

    as most of you would know it would not be tolerated if i said that the conference finished at 7 for arguments sake in cork. the answer i would have gotten would have been sure you would have been home by 10.

    and if they do an over night the day before so they are in the county ready for the conference i also dissagree with this. most of the west coast is accessible in less than 3 hours. cork the same.

    worst case would be 100 euro in petrol and some money for grub.

    butg it seems to be a different world all together. ( and i am not saying all councillors do it this way. but as mediator said large percentages of money could be saved if it was done this way. )

    another question is that it has travel, expenses and the flight cost. surely this would go down in travel , no?

    i would like to see some of the reciepts handed in. especially for hotels and food bills.




  • Alan I see you claimed €360 for a conference a few miles down the road in Santry! Not having a pop but how can this be justified?

    Also €1100 claimed for a trip to lovely Vienna for a conference on waste management :eek:

    On the face of it there is a litany of claims which would make the taxpayers eyes water.

    eg -

    Joan Maher - €738 for a Tourism conference in Co.Clare

    Mags Murray also enjoyed a trip to an entirely difference conference also on tourism, in Co.Clare cost of €765 for the 3 days.

    May McKeon - €836 for a jaunt to Waterford to learn "effective communication". How about this May, if you can't communicate by now, you shouldnt hold office.

    Anne Devitt - €1500 for a trip to Montpelier :eek:

    Regardless of the accountability that Alan mentioned, ie writing up the benefits of these trips, fundamentally they do nothing for fingal and I struggle to see why a) There is such a requirement to attend so many conferences b) Why the subject matters are so random and c) It would appear that many of these conferences are outwith the control of co.councillors. For example, Tourism, do we not have a minister for that? Why do co.councillors need to attend meetings on same :rolleyes:

    I know its easy to pick holes in these but I really dont see value for money here but FCC are losing money hand over fist, any wonder.




  • Actually, she is. She is President of ARC International, aimed at areas outside capital cities who have an airport within their jurisdiction. All about job generation, airport growth, sustainability etc.

    I think he IS a corkman.

    Under legislation, Councillors are required to write a report on the content of the seminar which is submitted to the Council in order to be refunded the cost of travel, subsistence etc.

    Strangely, most seminars are not in Dublin or the region. As they are organised by private companies we in Fingal have no say on where a conference is held.

    I post my annual expenses (June) on my website.

    I wasnt having a pop Alan. Most seminars are not in Dublin which is ok by me but have them in Regions and hosted by Co Council's. These private companies should be told Fingal are hosting a conference on communications put it out to tender and costs will drop. Next month it could be Louth hosting a conference on cross boder iniatives Or Meath on Farming.

    Meditraitor point on value is very valid. Are we getting value? As i stated I found out quite a bit from a cllr about how they work and I dont have a big problem with most of them, but 2 of them at the Willie Clancy summer school in Clare and a festival of Irish music in Rush, now thats b****x.

    If Anne Devitt is an expert does she really need to go to all these?

    It looks strange how Tom Kelliher would attend 3 seminars in his native county!!! Probably just coincidence but it would make people wonder.




  • Sizzler wrote: »
    May McKeon - €836 for a jaunt to Waterford to learn "effective communication". How about this May, if you can't communicate by now, you shouldnt hold office.
    :D:D:D

    plus, in this age of technology and with all the big names in IT here in Ireland, surely there is an argument for implementing better teleconferencing? Do they all really need to be present in person?? I know about networking opportunities, but this has to be weighed against the potental cost v's gain.

    Perhaps next to each trip they should be asked to show what was actually gained in financial terms/usefull contacts/benefits for Fingal etc?? its all well and good saying they went to seminars, but what benefit was gained by the expense? what was gained from the €1100 trip to Vienna?? if you can't show a gain then there should be no spend, and if you are seen to spend with no gain this year, then next year you should be scrutinized even further and have to justify each and every intended expense BEFORE you make it.

    Better yet, when I have a business expense, A LOT comes from my own pocket and then 6-8 weeks later (dep on payroll run) I get it back. Perhaps if more came from their own pocket initially, and with the chance that they would be refused reimbursement they may think more seriously about wheter they really need to make this trip and what can be gained from it.


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  • LeoB wrote: »
    I wasnt having a pop Alan. Most seminars are not in Dublin which is ok by me but have them in Regions and hosted by Co Council's. These private companies should be told Fingal are hosting a conference on communications put it out to tender and costs will drop. Next month it could be Louth hosting a conference on cross boder iniatives Or Meath on Farming.

    Meditraitor point on value is very valid. Are we getting value? As i stated I found out quite a bit from a cllr about how they work and I dont have a big problem with most of them, but 2 of them at the Willie Clancy summer school in Clare and a festival of Irish music in Rush, now thats b****x.

    If Anne Devitt is an expert does she really need to go to all these?

    It looks strange how Tom Kelliher would attend 3 seminars in his native county!!! Probably just coincidence but it would make people wonder.

    I didn't think you were having a pop leo, just making an observation.

    Conferences, training seminars etc are attended by Councillors from all over the country, where they occur is up to the providers not the councillors.

    Councillors have a set budget, if its spent its spent, if its not spent it roles over. As for value for money, I have learnt a huge amount from conferences I have been on. There is no induction training with this job. No on the job training. No HR manager or line manager to talk to. Mentoring by older Councillors is available but this doesn't always work while party support tends to be heavily administrative.

    Conferences are abused by a tiny, tiny minority of Councillors and certainly, I am aware of cases in years gone by. I cannot say this of my existing Council colleagues.
    LeoB wrote: »
    If Anne Devitt is an expert does she really need to go to all these?

    She is an expert because she has been on airport related conferences.

    Will address music, arts, tourism in reply to another response.




  • I didn't think you were having a pop leo, just making an observation.

    Conferences, training seminars etc are attended by Councillors from all over the country, where they occur is up to the providers not the councillors.

    Councillors have a set budget, if its spent its spent, if its not spent it roles over. As for value for money, I have learnt a huge amount from conferences I have been on. There is no induction training with this job. No on the job training. No HR manager or line manager to talk to. Mentoring by older Councillors is available but this doesn't always work while party support tends to be heavily administrative.

    Conferences are abused by a tiny, tiny minority of Councillors and certainly, I am aware of cases in years gone by. I cannot say this of my existing Council colleagues.
    I dont think anybody on here would seriously expect you to grass up existing colleagues for taking the pi$$ on conferences so no points there I'm afraid ;)

    If you feel the need all this training then I would seriously question the merits of you taking the position of councillor in the first place Alan as the excuses pedalled above suggest you need to be coaxed along in the role. I wouldn't apply for a job that I had no clue of and expect my employer to bankroll me with conferences & training all over the country (& further!) in order for me to grasp the fundamentals in order to do the job. On the job training or lack of is not an excuse to waste the councils money. Its unfortunate that it takes external people to actually recognise this.

    She is an expert because she has been on airport related conferences.

    Will address music, arts, tourism in reply to another response.
    The law of diminishing returns springs to mind, seriously when is enough, enough? Theres only so much you take in on the same subject and I have never heard Cllr.Devitt bang the drum for airport related matters. Not that she has the power to do so anyway, shes a councillor, not a minister for god's sakes.




  • Sizzler wrote: »
    Alan I see you claimed €360 for a conference a few miles down the road in Santry! Not having a pop but how can this be justified?

    Also €1100 claimed for a trip to lovely Vienna for a conference on waste management :eek:

    On the face of it there is a litany of claims which would make the taxpayers eyes water.

    eg -

    Joan Maher - €738 for a Tourism conference in Co.Clare

    Mags Murray also enjoyed a trip to an entirely difference conference also on tourism, in Co.Clare cost of €765 for the 3 days.

    May McKeon - €836 for a jaunt to Waterford to learn "effective communication". How about this May, if you can't communicate by now, you shouldnt hold office.

    Anne Devitt - €1500 for a trip to Montpelier :eek:

    Hi Sizzler.

    The Santry conference fee was €360. This was paid by the council so that I could attend. I did not "claim" for attending this conference as it was such a short distance from my home and was a one day event.

    Austria and Norway have some of the best waste policies in the world. Vienna has an incinerator in a downtown suburb and Oslo in a leafy well to do area. The parallels between Dublin and Vienna in particular are extremely worthwhile.

    Ireland is struggling with waste policy and Councils, particularly in Dublin are nearing a crisis on this matter. Government intervention and Gormley's nimbyism are also confusing the issue of incineration, landfills, energy generation etc.. I learnt a vast amount from Vienna.

    I am happy to explain the conferences attended, in detail should you wish to write to me.

    I can't comment on other Councillors attendances.
    Sizzler wrote: »
    Regardless of the accountability that Alan mentioned, ie writing up the benefits of these trips, fundamentally they do nothing for fingal and I struggle to see why a) There is such a requirement to attend so many conferences b) Why the subject matters are so random and c) It would appear that many of these conferences are outwith the control of co.councillors. For example, Tourism, do we not have a minister for that? Why do co.councillors need to attend meetings on same :rolleyes:

    I know its easy to pick holes in these but I really dont see value for money here but FCC are losing money hand over fist, any wonder.

    This is a general statement and can't be applied to all seminars or conferences.

    Most educational conferences which I attend have a direct benefit to my job as a councillor. Tourism for instance. I was a director of Fingal Tourism for four years and a director of Dublin Tourism for three. While I haven't attended a tourism based conferences in some time, the ones that I did had a direct benefit to my directorships and therefore to the Council I was elected to serve.

    On a day to say basis, my role as a Councillor is extraordinarily random. Housing, transportation, child protection, animal cruelty (a new one which occurred today) maintenance of parks, tidy towns, environment policy, fiscal prudence etc. Aside from the cliche, I could honestly go on all afternoon!

    My response is not all encompassing and most certainly doesn't address all the issues, but its honest and direct. More than happy to delve deeper if you want to write to me.

    Finally, we don't have to attend conferences, some don't. I find them beneficial, some don't. I learn from them, some don't.




  • Sizzler wrote: »
    If you feel the need all this training then I would seriously question the merits of you taking the position of councillor in the first place Alan as the excuses pedalled above suggest you need to be coaxed along in the role. I wouldn't apply for a job that I had no clue of and expect my employer to bankroll me with conferences & training all over the country (& further!) in order for me to grasp the fundamentals in order to do the job. On the job training or lack of is not an excuse to waste the councils money. Its unfortunate that it takes external people to actually recognise this.

    I think that this is a questionable response to the point I was making. Its also highly insulting.

    In house training and continual professional development are an absolute requirement in most industries. Education, The Law, Legislation to name but a few. I should point out that it is a requirement in some industries. The role of a Councillor is no different.
    Sizzler wrote: »
    The law of diminishing returns springs to mind, seriously when is enough, enough? Theres only so much you take in on the same subject and I have never heard Cllr.Devitt bang the drum for airport related matters. Not that she has the power to do so anyway, shes a councillor, not a minister for god's sakes.

    I respect that you have an opinion on this Sizzler but your knowledge of the role and intricacies of a Councillors duties are somewhat lacking.

    We have a very wide and varied role in Airport related policies.




  • Hi Sizzler.

    The Santry conference fee was €360. This was paid by the council so that I could attend. I did not "claim" for attending this conference as it was such a short distance from my home and was a one day event.

    Austria and Norway have some of the best waste policies in the world. Vienna has an incinerator in a downtown suburb and Oslo in a leafy well to do area. The parallels between Dublin and Vienna in particular are extremely worthwhile.

    Ireland is struggling with waste policy and Councils, particularly in Dublin are nearing a crisis on this matter. Government intervention and Gormley's nimbyism are also confusing the issue of incineration, landfills, energy generation etc.. I learnt a vast amount from Vienna.

    I am happy to explain the conferences attended, in detail should you wish to write to me.

    I can't comment on other Councillors attendances.



    This is a general statement and can't be applied to all seminars or conferences.

    Most educational conferences which I attend have a direct benefit to my job as a councillor. Tourism for instance. I was a director of Fingal Tourism for four years and a director of Dublin Tourism for three. While I haven't attended a tourism based conferences in some time, the ones that I did had a direct benefit to my directorships and therefore to the Council I was elected to serve.

    On a day to say basis, my role as a Councillor is extraordinarily random. Housing, transportation, child protection, animal cruelty (a new one which occurred today) maintenance of parks, tidy towns, environment policy, fiscal prudence etc. Aside from the cliche, I could honestly go on all afternoon!

    My response is not all encompassing and most certainly doesn't address all the issues, but its honest and direct. More than happy to delve deeper if you want to write to me.

    Finally, we don't have to attend conferences, some don't. I find them beneficial, some don't. I learn from them, some don't.


    Hmmm. Don;t really buy this.:(

    Am new to this thread and have just read through it quickly...but my overriding impression is lots of questions with no satisfactory answers.

    keep the debate going lads. It's very interesting. :)




  • I accept your points Alan, but the point I am trying to convey is that the elected representative should dictate more to these companies where conferences will take place and what the budget is.

    The tourism confrences are important and my point here was if there was one hosted by Fingal in conjunction with Louth, Meath Wicklow..... with invitations to to local hotels, guest houses or benificeries of tourism the providers might actually improve what they currently supply to the market.




  • Hi Sizzler.

    The Santry conference fee was €360. This was paid by the council so that I could attend. I did not "claim" for attending this conference as it was such a short distance from my home and was a one day event.
    Phew! I'd be disappointed if you did claim tbh! I suppose the fee and value for money is very subjective.
    Austria and Norway have some of the best waste policies in the world. Vienna has an incinerator in a downtown suburb and Oslo in a leafy well to do area. The parallels between Dublin and Vienna in particular are extremely worthwhile.

    Ireland is struggling with waste policy and Councils, particularly in Dublin are nearing a crisis on this matter. Government intervention and Gormley's nimbyism are also confusing the issue of incineration, landfills, energy generation etc.. I learnt a vast amount from Vienna.

    I am happy to explain the conferences attended, in detail should you wish to write to me.
    Its reassuring to know you learnt a lot but again demonstrable benefit is what public expenditure is about, I dont feel any better knowing a trip helped you learn a lot unless you can show me (and all the other people of Fingal) exactly what such a conference did. Its a brilliant step forward by FCC that expenses are published and I note that you have been quick to point out that you have also published yours on your site but its all rather pointless unless people can get answers. Transparency is one thing, accountability is another.
    I can't comment on other Councillors attendances.
    Brillaint ! Bertie would have been proud of that line ;) To be fair Im sure people wouldnt expect you to but at the same time look at the numbers, if you cant see how questions can be raised then the blinkers are on big time. Not exactly progressive politics imho.

    This is a general statement and can't be applied to all seminars or conferences.

    Most educational conferences which I attend have a direct benefit to my job as a councillor. Tourism for instance. I was a director of Fingal Tourism for four years and a director of Dublin Tourism for three. While I haven't attended a tourism based conferences in some time, the ones that I did had a direct benefit to my directorships and therefore to the Council I was elected to serve.

    On a day to say basis, my role as a Councillor is extraordinarily random. Housing, transportation, child protection, animal cruelty (a new one which occurred today) maintenance of parks, tidy towns, environment policy, fiscal prudence etc. Aside from the cliche, I could honestly go on all afternoon!

    My response is not all encompassing and most certainly doesn't address all the issues, but its honest and direct. More than happy to delve deeper if you want to write to me.

    Finally, we don't have to attend conferences, some don't. I find them beneficial, some don't. I learn from them, some don't.
    Its fine Alan, without being insulting or dismissive I have no desire to delve deeper. Fully cognisant of the range of issues which a councillor may come across but to be fair a lot of it is common sense, tidy towns,transportation,park maintenance, not exactly PHd subjects.
    I think that this is a questionable response to the point I was making. Its also highly insulting.

    In house training and continual professional development are an absolute requirement in most industries. Education, The Law, Legislation to name but a few. I should point out that it is a requirement in some industries. The role of a Councillor is no different.



    I respect that you have an opinion on this Sizzler but your knowledge of the role and intricacies of a Councillors duties are somewhat lacking.

    We have a very wide and varied role in Airport related policies.
    Apologies if you are insulted, you are a public figure and if you have ambitions of being involved in politics for years to come then buckle up, it was hardly a scathing remark. It was fair comment imo. You stated that you needed to attend conferences as you claimed there was effectively no back up resource or mentoring, thus implying you did not possess the neccessary skills to do the role that was being asked. Yes indeed most industries do require upskilling from time to time, no argument, but again the subtle difference is you said you were lacking without the training, thats different than 'topping up' an existing skill base. Its actually quite an eye opener to see that councillors (not just you) need to be fluent in so many disciplines but based on what we have seen and read many councillors are chasms away from the required skillset, ostensibly its hard to pick the bones out of *neccessary* conferences and the junkets as a result!

    Sorry if you think Im being overly harsh Alan, not singling you out but these are the questions I hear being asked daily from family,friends and co-workers,maybe you arent hearing these but I am and if you go onto the politics forum the sea gets a lot choppier ;)




  • Alan and others here will know I am no fan of F.G but fair play to him for coming on here and trying to justify or explain whaat he done. This alone is a major step forward.

    I believe things are changing for the better in just about all aspects of public life and we should remember F.F. under Bertie were not the only party doing bits of business under the table.

    If we stay in a negative mindframe it wont do us any good.

    sizzler If people like Alan did not get involved in politics where would we be.? Would you get involved? I dont think I would having watched how one of them works and the hours he puts in without pay




  • Alan,
    You mentioned representatives are supposed to write about their conferences- are these published? If not, why not? It would either go some way to showing there's some value to fingal residents or show what the cynics believe that there's very little benefit.




  • LeoB wrote: »
    sizzler If people like Alan did not get involved in politics where would we be.? Would you get involved? I dont think I would having watched how one of them works and the hours he puts in without pay
    LeoB, truthful answer is no I wouldnt, why, because I am only one person and I can honestly say the inefficiency and obstacles of politics in trying to achieve change would do my head in and I would succomb to the frustration. Honest answer. I'd love to get involved but for the reasons above I dont think I ever could unless there is seismic change in attitude over the next decade.


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  • Alan, I dont want to side track a good thread but have you any ambition to run for higher office in the future? It would be good to have a TD to quiz on this forum ;)




  • Apologies if this is a daft question.

    Alan when booking flights/accommodation etc; does each councillor book these items themselves (or their staff)? Are there guidelines on modes & limits on transport/accommodation costs?

    Most private companies I worked for would have set limits on costs for each trip, which included hotel accommodation & flights. When booking a trip the participant was obliged to ensure that the costs fell within the limits otherwise they would bear the overrun themselves or not attend the conference.




  • Alan,
    You mentioned representatives are supposed to write about their conferences- are these published? If not, why not? It would either go some way to showing there's some value to fingal residents or show what the cynics believe that there's very little benefit.

    I actually don't know the answer to this question. I do not think so. It would be helpful to staff within the council to get some of the reports as they would probably find them useful but I am unaware if they read them or not. If one of my reports is meaty enough, I send it to the director responsible for their information.
    Alan, I dont want to side track a good thread but have you any ambition to run for higher office in the future? It would be good to have a TD to quiz on this forum ;)

    I think this thread has been side tracked already!

    I am an ambitious person. That being said, I don't view the Council as being a spring board.
    Eoineo wrote: »
    Apologies if this is a daft question.

    Alan when booking flights/accommodation etc; does each councillor book these items themselves (or their staff)? Are there guidelines on modes & limits on transport/accommodation costs?

    Not daft at all.

    I book my own flights but a member of staff will do it if asked. The Mayor is the only Councillor who has dedicated staff.

    The limit for educational conferences, brought in this year is €4,700 per Councillor including travel, registration, subsistence, accommodation etc.

    If there are guidelines, I have not seen them but I have my own company and prudence would dictate that the less spent on flights, the more money would be available for other things within the overall budget.




  • I think this thread has been side tracked already!
    Whereabouts? I posted the thread to make people aware that the info was there,what my thoughts were etc. and you seemed happy enough to participate in the discussion that followed...




  • Sizzler wrote: »
    I can honestly say the inefficiency and obstacles of politics in trying to achieve change would do my head in and I would succomb to the frustration

    Nothing changes unless people get inside and change it. That's what I am trying to do and I'm sure, many like me.




  • Looks like this one is not going away any time soon.
    On the front of this week's North County Leader is a report how these same councillors voted in favour of heading off to Brazil for another junket. (I read the details on what it was they hoped to get out of this trip to Brazil - a sun tan perhaps :D )...

    Why Brazil? How much to airflights alone cost? Thousands I would imagine. How much for hotel accomodation, meals, entertainments etc etc....Would run to a fair figure I would guess.

    I suppose this money could not be put to some better use?

    But sure it's for our own good ain;t it? :rolleyes:




  • Not to mention the carbon footprint for that trip.




  • now that the Brazil conference 'scandal' (and yes I'm calling it a scandal), has been made public in todays North County Leader, this issue needs to be addressed by the people involved.

    To vote to retain a junket to a conference thousands of miles away at enormous taxpayers expense is abhorrent in these times.

    Councillors can use all the cliches in the book about how important it is to attend conferences etc, but that doesnt wash with me.

    I'm a private sector employee who used to attend training and conferences abroad regularly during the 'boom'. Granted most of them were somewhat useful but for the most part it was a holiday.
    For the last 3 years, in my company, which has over 1000 exmployees, there has been a blanket ban on overseas junkets. The company I work for is highly profitable, yet they cannot be seen to be sending people abroad at great expense.

    Fingal co. council, and more specifically the councillors who voted to retain this, deem it appropriate to spend our money on these junkets, when that same money could be put to much better use.

    It just proves to me again how so far detached from reality politicians actually are.

    I'm keeping that list of councillors who voted yes and I for one will ensure they dont get my vote next time.

    Hopefully this issue will remain in the public domain for a while yet.

    There really is no excuse for this one.




  • Crikey :eek:

    Ah I'm sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation, theres always a reason, just like the other trips that have been published. Its probably to check how Brazilians deal with noise pollution or how they produce such good sporting teams on such low council budgets ;)

    Does the article say who went or even try and justify what it was for?

    On the face of it, it sounds indefensible. Any wonder FCC introduce charges for bins etc. how else could they pay for such trips!


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  • Ah just found it -

    http://www.northcountyleader.ie/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=694:what-planet-are-they-on&catid=1:latest-news

    Daly's comments probably the most sensible backed up by a FF councillor of all people. At last some sense.

    All The FG councillors mad to go, sure why not lads :rolleyes: The labour councillors argument is poor at best, me thinks the man, he doesth protest too much.
    wrote:
    Some of our Councillors may be taking to the sun in Brazil at the expense of taxpayers after they voted to retain a conference in the South American country, despite locals being told that the Council has no money to carry out works in the community. At a recent Council meeting, councillors voted 13-8 in favour of retaining the Brazilian conference as they argued that, “local representatives receive little training and attending conferences is the only way that they can get educated”.

    The vote that saw all six Fine Gael councillors supporting the Housing and Planning conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil along with three Labour councillors, two Fianna Fail councillors and the two independent councillors, has called into question the level of disconnect many local representatives have with their communities. County Mayor, Ciaran Byrne (LAB) who has attended conferences in places such as Argentina, Singapore and Dallas and who said that he is considering going to the conference in Brazil said, “I think that the fundamental flaw in the argument that is been taken on foreign conferences is that there is an exploitation of tax payers’ money and that is wrong.” He said, “I have no doubt that the Council has benefited from conferences that I have attended and I can prove that by policies I have tabled.” However, some have questioned how the benefits of conference trips can be measured in light of a spokesperson from the Council telling the County Leader that local representatives do not have to submit a report on each conference they attend.

    Furthermore, in the absence of such a system, it could be questioned whether the lack of accountability exists between councillors and the local authority in the whole area of conference attendance.

    Earlier in the year, legislation was brought in to limit the travel of councillors to conferences both in Ireland and abroad. Councillors in the North County can claim €4,700, but in agreeing the council’s budget for 2010 it set the conference claims for its 24 councillors at €3,300 per councillor totalling almost €80,000 in Council money that could be going towards maintaining crucial jobs or improving desperately needed facilities in our community.

    Cllr Clare Daly, who voted not to keep the conference in Brazil said, “I don’t think you can take out conferences completely because I think they can play a certain role, but the budget is too much in the current climate especially when the council is struggling to continue providing basic services in the Community”. Cllr Daly continued, “there is an excellent housing conference on in Tullamore this month that I think will be more beneficial then the housing conference in Brazil because key issues in housing policy, where there are enormous issues falling from NAMA will be discussed and I can be quite confident that none of these issues will be addressed in Brazil.” Cllr Eoin O’Brien who was the only Fianna Fail councillor who supported removing the conference may have learned a thing or two from his TD brother Darragh O’Brien who sits on the public accounts committee said, “I think the conference to Brazil is a bit far fetched in the times that we’re in and I think that while there may be some merits in foreign travel, there needs to be some constraints”. Cllr O’Brien said, “Young councillors take spending tax payers’ money more seriously compared to some of the older councillors”. Asked what locals would think of him travelling to a foreign conference, such as the one in Brazil, County Mayor Ciaran Byrne told the County Leader that, “This thing of foreign conferences, people no longer see it as a luxury, it’s a bore!” Cllr Byrne continued, “I can only hope that people can stop this simple assessment of foreign conferences”. The latest vote on foreign travel clearly splits the view of the Council on whether local representatives have a moral obligation to take into account not only the financial constraints the local authority is under, but the perception that councillors travelling to conferences in places such as Brazil undermines the challenges facing people in the community. Mayor Byrne’s party colleague Cllr Cian O’Callaghan, who was voted into Council for the first time last year said, “Cllrs who seem to be most in favour of this are the most experienced. For them it seems like when something has always been there for you, it should stay”. O’Callaghan said, “There are lots of resources on the internet and books written on it and I don’t think there is any justification for councillors to attend conferences about community planning. O’Callaghan said, “The only time I wouldn’t rule out foreign travel is if there is a clear case that it may bring jobs or tourism to the area, but I don’t believe that this is what is happening at these conferences”. However, Cllr Anne Devitt, who has been a member of the Council for over 20 years and who managed to fit in five trips to Belgium last year said at the council meeting that the value of attending conferences needs to be based on relevance, not location. Devitt, who is a member of the Airport Regions Conference spent a total of €10,673.41 on conference attendances last year of which €1,544.48 was spent on a conference in France, €991.65 on a conference in Holland and €984.29 on a conference in Poland. Notably, Devitt attended more foreign conferences than Irish ones.


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