herald

Friday 19 April 2019

Failed city council candidates refuse to reveal payments

TWO long-serving members of Dublin City Council have refused to reveal how much they received in parachute payments, after losing their seats in the last local elections.

Former Fine Gael councillors Bill Tormey and Gerry Breen were entitled to payments worth tens of thousands of euro, as the two longest serving councillors to lose their seats in May.

Professor Tormey served on the council from 2004, while Mr Breen served from 1999 - including a stint as Lord Mayor of Dublin in 2010/2011.

But neither saw fit to reveal the amount of taxpayer money that they pocketed, following rejection by the electorate.

It emerged this week that former councillors across the country received more than €11.6m in parachute payments since the local elections.

The payments, know as gratuities, were made to part-time politicians who lost their seats or retired following the May poll.

They are made in recognition of long service and to cushion the blow of life after politics.

At the higher end they are worth almost €65,000.

Most local councils have published the figures, but Dublin City Council has yet to do so.

Calls and messages to Mr Breen went unreturned. A message from Professor Tormey simply said: "DCC will publish all on website."

The council has said the figures would be published next month. Neither man would volunteer the information, despite repeated requests from the Herald.

Invasive

Another former councillor said that requesting the amount of money from the public purse that she received was "invasive".

Labour's Sheila Howes, who was co-opted on to the council in 2011, said that the amount she received was "not a lot".

"I think it's a bit invasive. Just wait until its published and then you'll know," she said.

By contrast, other former councillors were happy to talk about the amount they received.

Gerry Ashe, who was co- opted on to on the council in 2011, said that she received more than €10,000 - €7,000 of which she was owed for election spending.

"I am currently unemployed with no entitlement to any social welfare payment. Therefore, I cannot partake in CE or Job Bridge or any other scheme.

"For me, this is the first time in 40 years of working that I have no income," she said.

Fellow former Labour Party councillor, Michael O'Sullivan, said he received the statutory for his time on the council of €10,700.

Eirgiri's Louise Minihan and Labour's Oisin Quinn, were unaware of the amount of their entitlements, which are paid at the age of 50.

hnews@herald.ie

Promoted articles

Entertainment News