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Council forks out €38,239 to former councillors in gratuity payments

Thursday, 12th April, 2018 1:06pm

Council forks out €38,239 to former councillors in gratuity payments

Aras an Chontae, the HQ of Mayo County Council in Castlebar

ELECTED and former members of Mayo County Council were paid €876,561 in expenses, allowances and gratuity payments last year.

The payments covered the 30 members as well retired representative, Peter Flynn, and four former members of Castlebar Town Council, Harry Barrett, Eoin Garavan, Pat King and Noreen Neston.

Of the sitting councillors, Moorehall-based independent Councillor Al McDonnell received the highest amount (€39,956), a figure that included €14,917 for one half of his term as cathaoirleach.

Others to receive in excess of €30,000 were Tom Connolly (€31,626), Gerry Coyle (€34,797), Christy Hyland (€30,869), Michael Kilcoyne (€31,796), John O'Hara (€31,431) and Annie May Reape (€32,727).

The majority of those had additional payments due to the fact they served as the chair of a stragetic policy committee or municipal district, a responsibility which carries a renumeration of €4,500 per annum.

The figures include a payment of €21,397 to Castlebar Sinn Féin Councillor Therése Ruane, who retired from the authority a number of weeks ago and has since been replaced by her party colleague, Joe McHale.

A sum of €38,239 was paid out in gratuity payments, the biggets recipient being former Westport Fine Gael councillor, Peter Flynn, who got a €24,553 golden handshake for his service.

The other recipients were Harry Barrett (€4,409), Eoin Garavan (€2,516), Noreen Heston (€4,153) and Pat King (€2,561).

The biggest outlay was the €498,549 relating to representational payments as each councillor is entitled to a basic fee of €16,618 per annum.

The 30 elected members were also shared an annual allowance of €189,490 to cover their cost of attending statutory meetings. The highest individual payment, in this bracket, went to Belmullet Sinn Féin Councilor Teresa Whelan (€9,459), who has the furthest to travel.

The average payment was €6,316 but the fee of former councillor Therése Ruane, based in Castlebar, was considerably below the average at €4,779.

A total of 22 members spent €69,440 on attending conferences and other training events in Ireland, the highest outlays being in respect of Damian Ryan (€6,401), John O'Hara (€6,403), Tom Connolly (€6,220), Richard Finn (€5,599) and Christy Hyland (€5,641).

A sum of €6,186) was paid out for expenses abroad for St. Patrick's Day related events, and the breakdown is Blackie Gavin (€1,407), Henry Kenny (€898), Michael Kilcoyne (€1,376), Michael Loftus (€1,596), Al McDonnell (€969), Martin McLoughlin (€699) and John O'Hara (€834).

Two members, Al McDonnell and Richard Finn, recieved €1,500 each for their work on the council's audit committee while there were no claims made during 2017 in respect of the mobile phone allowance.


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