Fine Gael Cllr. Regina Doherty, has called for the immediate suspension of attendance to all non essential conferences by County & City Councillors across the country.
“The attendance of conferences is designed to equip Councillors with knowledge that would assist them carry out their duties as a Councillor. However, in the current economic climate we all must take responsibility for every penny of taxpayer’s money we spend and be guaranteed that firstly, the spend is essential and secondly that we get value for the money we spend.”
“To that end I do not believe that attending conferences (at a considerable cost to the taxpayer) is critical to the effectiveness of my role as a County Councillor and believe that the practice should be suspended with immediate effect.”
“As a nation we are being told that we all need to “share the pain”, but in real terms this is not happening. Pensioners up and down the country, having worked hard all their lives are having their pensions taxed, while the practice of spending taxpayers money without consideration carries on as normal.”
“If Minister Brian Lenihan needs to know where to look to save money in order to avoid taxing pensioners, or taxing children’s allowances then a good start would be in his own back yard. Its no wonder this government has difficulty in bringing the mass population “along” with its recovery plans; the endless talk of reducing salaries, expenses, government committees, the talk of removing the practice of TDs receiving pensions while still holding down a very well paid full time jobs; Lots of talk but the only action we have seen since they woke up to the fact that the country is in dire straits is increased levies on the ordinary tax payer.”
“An immediate motion should be passed that all non essential expenditure by every TD, Councillor, Senator, every government department, every County Council must stop with immediate effect, As public leaders, if we can at least lead by example, then we truly might be all sharing the pain together.”
Did you know
Each Meath County Councilor has an annual fund of €4000 to provide for travel, accommodation and subsistence for attendance at conferences. This varies from council to council with some in receipt of more.
Some of the conferences available are as follow: Judge for yourself how essential some of them are.
Conference Details Conference Cost
The 8th Benedict Kiely Literary Weekend – 10/09/09 – 13/09/09 €80 (Omagh)
From the Canvass to the Council Chamber – 18/09/09 – 20/09/09 €245 (Clifton)
Remembrance & Conference Weekend – 25/09/09- 27/09/09 €180 (Tipperary)
Councillors Co-operation North & South – The Challenges 09/10/09 – 10/10-/09 €95 (Castlebellingham)
Health & Safety Issues in Local Government 30/10/09 – 01/11/09 €245 (Carrick-on-Suir)