ALMOST €10,000 was paid to 16 Clare County Councillors to attend a two-day training seminar in Monaghan last September, new figures have revealed.
The Association of Irish Local Government held its Autumn Seminar in The Hillgrove Leisure and Spa Hotel, Monaghan on Wednesday, September 11 and Thursday, September 12.
Councillors were addressed by a number of speakers on Wednesday evening before the re-launch of the updated AILG Brexit Issues Paper that was followed by a hot buffet dinner.
Topics such as climate change – the Role of Local Government, “Met Eireann – Forecasting Services and Local Authorities”, “The Planning Process and the Office of the Planning Regulator”, as well as a panel discussion between newly-elected councillors with AILG director, Liam Kenny and Local Authority Budgets 2020 were dealt with on Thursday.
Councillors who attend the seminar were paid varying amount from €329 to €743, which included a seminar fee of €140.
While People Before Profit General Election candidate, Theresa O’Donohue supports the provision of training for county councillors, she said this expenditure “sounds exorbitant”.
She wondered how much training could be provided in-house at New Road, Ennis for €10,000.
Councillor Clare Colleran-Molloy said the AILG is one of the main local authority bodies that hosts biennial seminars where best practice and training can be shared with councillors from all over the country.
The Ennis Councillor said this was an important conference for councillors to attend because of the national prominence of this organisation and pointed out there is an advantage to face-to-face training for the participants.
Councillor Colleran-Molloy expects that a lot more training will be provided remotely in the future as a result of what has been happening during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Councillors Gerry Flynn, Johnny Flynn, Mark Nestor, Ian Lynch and Joe Garrihy and the late Mike McKee received no payments for attending training or conferences while Shane Talty and Joe Killeen didn’t claim any expenses for conferences.
Payments made for the Monaghan seminar included Michael Begley: €630; Pat Burke: €587; Bill Chambers: €743; Clare Colleran-Molloy: €664; Joe Cooney: €329; Pat Daly: €664; Pat Hayes: €456; Mary Howard: €664; Gabriel Keating: €688; P J Kelly: €603; Pat McMahon: €679; Paul Murphy: €569; Ann Norton: €647; Tony O’Brien: €442; Alan O’Callaghan: €691 and P J Ryan €694.