Councils spend €12m on conferences

Any sources of more information on this story, which I thought was more interesting than the HSE expenses one - … 24947.html

I thought it was interesting given that the staff in my institution have an allowance of only 500 per head for conference expenses - the attendance at which is supposed to be an integral part of promoting research, and developing links, and the whole Knowledge Economy aspect of Brand Ireland…in contrast, the article mentions Gormley as promoting ‘a €2,000 spending cap per councillor in time for the 2010 conference season’.

If only…

As a former Councillor (defeated last June), let me give you some background info. The funding for the conferences comes
from the Department of Environment. The allocation for 2007 was €7,812.92c & for 2008 it was € 7,717.00c

To claim expenses for attending a conference you fill out the relevant form, on which you supply the Council with the Dates of the Conference,
Title & Venue of Conference, Time & Date you left home and same for when you got back home. From this info you get
mileage, subsistence & overnight. You do not supply any receipts.

Finally there is the conference fee.

The outfit that are organising the conference have an attendance sheet (which you sigh once) for each county. Post conference,
this sheet is submitted to the relevant County Council who makes the attendance fee payment and which is deducted out
out of the relevant councillor’s allocation.

At the end of the financial year any unused allocations go into the Council’s budget.

Michael Moloney

Holy shitola. It’s a flippin’ recipe for fraud, even if there hasn’t been any in the past.

I’m with boxplayer in finding this incredible. As a university lecturer I get a conference allowance of €700 p.a. from which I have to pay for travel, hotels and fees. Realistically this is enough to fund one conference in mainland Europe (just about) or 1.5 conferences in the UK. Developing an international research profile (which is part of the job spec.) demands that you present at as many conferences as possible - which isn’t exactly easy on that basis. Each year I spend quite a bit of my own money on conferences and travel. So to hear that each councillor is getting near on €8,000 p.a. leaves me speechless.

I could not disagree, but where does that put TDs who claim the €120 overnight allowance for staying in Dublin but who actually spend the night back in the family home,
and what about the couple, both members of the Oireachtas, who for three years, **BOTH ** claimed the €120 overnight allowance, while sharing the one bedroom,
in a house owned by a family member?

Michael Moloney

Hence the post. Last year I spent (out of my pay) about the same as my allowance on conferences. Even worse, most PhD students have no such specified allowance. Part time, contract and occasional staff also get nothing - and they are often the ones trying to make a name for themselves.

So even the 2,000 proposed by Gormley would be four times what people in my institution get. And…get this…we are not guaranteed to receive anything this year (it is one of the areas of funding under threat).

I know that overall this has nothing to do with property but as a specimen of the gravy train that lower-level public representatives it was I thought pretty revealing and damning, especially in the current climate.

Looking around at some of the county council sites, they are generally listed, but not always the price. Kildare do a decent job on this though - here are the latest ones - … 18,en.html

Hard to see what you get for you cash here but anyway here’s an interesting one

20 - 23 August 2009
Humbert Summer School
Ballina, Killala, Lacken & Kilcummin, Co Mayo
Approx cost per delegate: €838.24
Nominees: Cllr. Callaghan, O’Loughlin and Weld

The programme is here - but unfortunately there is no conference fee mentioned.
Did the nominees speak? No.

Here’s another one

9 – 14 August 2009
The Parnell Summer School 2009
Avondale House and Forest Park, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow
Approx cost per delegate: €857.22
Nominees: Cllr. Miley

Did the nominees speak? No.

The rather light programme for this is here -

The cost of this is public by the way - 250 euro…which covers all lectures and events, coffee and lunch (Mon-Fri) and Summer School Dinner, but excludes accommodation. So the approx cost (not final) includes 500 euro for the week. Not bad at all eh?!

Another staggering one here from Clare County Council -

“National Music Symposium being held in St. Patricks Teacher Training College, Dublin on
24th March, 2009.
The Meetings Administrator informed the members that the estimated average cost per Councillor
attending this Conference was €541.22.
It was agreed that Cllr. M. Conway attend this Conference.”

This was a one-day symposium, including two performances. … 100,en.pdf

Now I am not saying that these are not worthwhile events, but the cost of attendance at these seems extraordinary.

I know for a fact this happens: councillors carpool, all go to conference destination, sign in, go home, all claim individual expenses for mileage, subsistence and overnights. They do not have to have receipts, are not asked to give reports on conference content. Not all councillors are at this, but a large number are. This type of shit has to stop. The are also funded to go to summer schools about obscure writers and such shit, the conferences are usually irrelevant to their work. Absolute unashamed trough stuff.

So if this happens then why is there so little concern about it? How does a system like this evolve, with no proof or receipts required for expenses?

The response from Michael Fitzgerald was pretty funny: “They’re not junkets,” he said. “A lot of these are educational and are needed for training and learning.” So which ones then aren’t educational? And why are they going to these?

On the other point, I don’t think that a conference has ever been held for TRAINING purposes. And it’s arguable that any ‘learning’ happens - at most conferences there is often up to a 50:50 ratio of signal:noise. You generally expect to get some ideas from a conference from papers/presentations attended. But it’s not surprising to come away with very little useful information either.

‘Boxplayer’ the outline that ‘Catdog’ posted above cannot be disputed. If there was an inquiry in the morning in to this abuse, the evidence can definitively be collated by the mobile phone operators from information logged at the mobile operator’s base stations dotted around the country.

With the necessary legal permits, the calls made by elected members on dates listed in their Conference expense sheets could be analysed given the exact details of their location when each call was made.

So where you have a group of FF or FG councillors from one county at a particular conference an analysis of their calls would give up the detail required to confirm Catdog’s post. I should also say that councillor’s going alone might also throw up some eye openers.

Michael Moloney

Didn’t see much about this - probably too everyday to get much notice and falling under ‘what we’re entitled to’ - but thought it was worth adding it to this older thread … 81767.html

especially this

Yep, so hard at work in his own council that the last minutes available are for December 2009.

So we can’t see the highly educational benefits of the conferences he might have attended this summer.

But last summer (see here … y-2009.pdf)

Which is basically a summer school for poets and writers. Oh, and just to note further, none of them spoke or gave presentations. [You can check here … ure_09.pdf]

Isn’t it a crying shame that our councillors don’t get that extra €1,300 so that more of them could attend worthy events such as this?

Remember - other posters in this thread working in academia, attending conferences and actually giving papers, got 500 and 700 per year.

and this: … 82813.html
and this: … 82799.html

What the hell has that got to do with attending irrelevant conferences with ridiculously generous non-vouched allowances?

So he’s accepting that they are basically junkets to which councillors are entitled for all the hard work they do.

You’re missing the point P, the question is how do you make a thick feel important? Answer Send him to a conference with the rest of the thicks where he can pocket money etc etc

So Gormless reduced the amount councillors can spend on “conferences” to €4,700p.a.?! That’s nearly seven times what a university lecturer gets as a conference allowance. Unlike the junketeers, however, we have to actually present a paper and run the gauntlet of peer review - not just pick a scenic destination, turn up, sign in, claim our mileage and feck off. Knowledge economy me hole. Grrr.

And… breathe. Rant over.

How much of a typical councils budget would be used for councillor-related expenses?

You’d really despair… if these w@nkers spent as much time caring about the rest of the country as much as they do about themselves then the place would be in great shape.

I doubt that to be honest; I suspect these muppets do less damage when off at their junkets than if they were actually using their “talents” as councillors. … ertiser%29

Galway Advertiser

He never said anything about dividends, only a wage :slight_smile:

Over to Fingal … 783,en.doc

Notice from Esperanza Enterprises regarding seminar with the theme ‘Managing Stress and Promoting Positive Mental Health’ being held in Kingsvalley Hotel, Co.Galway, from Tuesday 16th to Thursday 18th February, 2010.

Notice from Esperanza Enterprises regarding seminar with the theme ‘Change Management in Local Government’ being held in Westport Plaza Hotel, Westport, Co. Mayo, from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st February, 2010. … 149,en.doc

Notice from Esperanza Enterprises regarding seminar with the theme ‘Banking, Insurance and NAMA, the effect on Local Government’ being held in Carlton Hotel Tralee, Tralee, Co. Kerry from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th April, 2010

Notice from Esperanza Enterprises regarding seminar with the theme ‘New EPA Guidelines for Single Houses – Their Implications to Local Government’ being held in Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Bushypark, Co. Galway from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th April, 2010

Notice from Esperanza Enterprises regarding seminar with the theme ‘The Cost of Insurance and Claims to your Local Authority’ being held in Kingsvalley Hotel, Galway City, from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd May, 2010.

2Packs Personal Favourite :smiley: … 9-633a.doc

Helpful hint

@ 2pack. You have got far too much time on your hands, and I am gratefull for it.

I tip my hat, this is a much more insidious programme than those of the summer schools beloved of councillors.

Particularly reprehensible is the first day’s schedule - an overnighter just for an ‘overview’ of the seminar.

The other components: ‘Ethics in Public Life the responsibility is yours!Does Power corrupt?’ - whether a whole hour was required for participants to answer ‘yes’ is doubtful.

And the rest of the seminar was given over to

DONATIONS and EXPENSES - make sure you get what you’re entitled to.

IMAGE - make sure that the retards that voted you in think that they’re getting some sort of return for their vote. For slow learners among you: