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Local Councillors defrauding the taxpayer with expense claims

  • 22-07-2021 7:04pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4,616 ✭✭✭ Cluedo Monopoly


    I am surprised there wasn't more repercussions announced after the RTE Investigates program concerning councillors double-expensing and essentially lying through their teeth in order to milk expenses. If anyone saw the program it was clear they could not be at 2 different events on the same day. You have to wonder how widespread the expense abuse really is.

    The local councillors who broke expense rules (rte.ie)

    In 2014, the then Minister for Environment, Community, and Local Government, Phil Hogan, introduced new regulations relating to councillors’ expenses.

    "Abuse of conference attendances has in the past reflected badly on elected members," he said.


    Nothing has changed. New Politics indeed.



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,212 ✭✭✭ wally1990


    This story literally breaks once a year with expense fraud and nothing ever happens.its every single year.

    Even in covid l5 in may mileage was being claimed when virtual meetings were had ffs

    It's an annual story now.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,542 ✭✭✭✭ Galwayguy35


    And these are the people who say they should be paid more because they can't live on a councillors salary.



  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,064 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    A councillors salary currently is 16k. So yes, you can't live on a councillors salary unless you have other resources.

    Its going up to 25k which is still going to leave it paid too little for there to be many full-time councillors. There is a reason councils are full of senior teachers and retirees.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,324 ✭✭✭ Shebean


    The best ones were when they billed expenses for two all day meetings in two different locations. Mostly FF/FG of course, (being nice, actually only heard FF/FG).



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,542 ✭✭✭✭ Galwayguy35


    They more than make up for it with the expenses. Shower of chancers the lot of them.



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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,064 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    When claimed legitimately, they don't.

    Expenses cover actual outlay, as the name very much tells you. You don't make a profit off expenses.

    If you don't like the quality of current councillors, where the hell do you expect to get better ones from for the salary paid?



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,533 ✭✭✭ whippet


    We have too many councillors... for a small country the number of councils and councillors is far to much. Most of which have no real source of direct funding and as a consequence very little actual use



  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,064 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    Every single council has LPT, rates and rental incomes. Town councils, which often had extremely limited incomes, were dissolved seven years ago with a significant reduction in the overall number of councillors.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,818 ✭✭✭ Darc19


    I saw a preview for the program. Assumed that they'd show massive fraud and a couple of dozen councillors.


    But after trawling through over 900 councillor's expense reports, they found 3 or 4. One had corrected the error, the others assured that the errors would be corrected.


    Maybe the others were just more clever or the real story was that over 99% had not claimed excess expense.


    Ideally there should be less and they should be paid more. But those that represent smaller groups would not be elected. And looking elsewhere, it doesn't seem excessive - the UK has over 20,000.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,616 ✭✭✭ Cluedo Monopoly


    The program seemed to suggest there was very little oversight or validation for councillor expenses. It didn't seem possible to prove that the councillors actually attended the far flung seminars at all. These seminars seem like complete junkets. We had to take their word that they could attend seminars in Dublin and Bantry on the same day. The mileage claims were staggering.

    "The records reveal that hundreds of councillors contravened a provision in the Local Government Act designed to provide transparency about the expenses claimed by local representatives.

    They also demonstrate more serious breaches. Many councillors across the country have received double payments, by wrongly claiming expenses from their own local authority and from an external organisation for the same official absence."



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,583 ✭✭✭ Abominable Dr. Phibes


    They don’t though. It’s a rush to the exits at council level. Why do you have such a bleak outlook on your fellow citizens? You should stand for the council yourself down in Galway. Introduce a new era of virtue and integrity in Irish politics



  • Registered Users Posts: 17,644 ✭✭✭✭ Maryanne84


    RTÉ Investigates is known for biased reporting, highlighting the opinions that will create the most outrage amongst gullible viewers. A bit like a TV version of Liveline. To be taken with a large pinch of salt.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,616 ✭✭✭ Cluedo Monopoly


    And we have loyal Mary in to defend the indefensible even when the government councillors admitted and apologised for their 'mistakes'.

    You are the definition of gullible.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,702 ✭✭✭ BrianD3


    It shows how brazen they are that they can effectively claim to be in two places at once and then when caught, excuse it with "Ah shur, I made a mistake" or come up with some convoluted explanation about how they drove here and there and back again so attended two conferences. Right 🙄

    There is also a bigger picture here, there are less than 1000 councillors in the country while there are around 25,000 local government employees and around 300k public servants. Many would spend a fair proportion of their time attending meetings, seminars, conferences.

    Would anyone be confident that

    a) the attendance at these events is necessary and of benefit and that the taxpayer is getting value for money

    b) there is adequate oversight of the rules on claiming travel and subsistence

    If someone had the time to dig through those public service claims I've no doubt that some interesting stuff would be found. People "accidentally" mixing up miles and kilometres, "forgetting" that they can't claim a lunch sub if there was a lunch provided. Or more subtle things like not having the correct insurance in place and/or driving an untaxed car and then if questioned, try to spin some convoluted story about how they used their wife's car.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,542 ✭✭✭✭ Galwayguy35


    Anyone who is politics is there to get whatever they can out of it, TDs and councillors come to the door talking bullshit when they want our votes and thats the last we hear from them until the next election.

    The roads around here are a disgrace for years and all we get is promises to fix them yet nothing gets done, different faces in the nearly 30 years since I became voting age but the same crap out of all of them.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,780 ✭✭✭✭ B.A._Baracus


    Everyone fiddles huh?

    That's not a defeatist attitude either by saying "ah surr, we all do it" it's just the way it is. Like some tradesman or taxi driver will fiddle his expenses so too will a politician.

    Way it goes.



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