herald

Thursday 25 April 2019

Paisley urged to repay €7,000 flight bill

DUP MP Ian Paisley
DUP MP Ian Paisley

The DUP's Ian Paisley has been urged by a fellow MP to reimburse a charity for the price of a first-class plane ticket to New York.

The North Antrim representative travelled to New York last February to participate in a seminar about Northern Ireland's peace process on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

According to the House of Commons register of interests, he received £6,327.34 (€7,165) to cover a £5,925.11 flight and £402.23 (€455) for accommodation from the peace building charity Co-operation Ireland.

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has called on Mr Paisley to reimburse the costs to the charity.

Sickened

She claimed she has been contacted by people who have participated in Co-operation Ireland fundraising events, and said they are "absolutely disgusted and sickened that this expense was covered".

Co-operation Ireland said it did not wish to comment.

It was reported that others who attended the New York event, including Tanaiste Simon Coveney, flew economy on the budget airline Norwegian Air.

Mr Coveney's expenses were covered by the Government.

The SDLP said another attendee, former Foyle MP Mark Durkan, also flew economy to New York. This cost was covered by Co-operation Ireland.

Mr Paisley refused to make any comment. The DUP also declined to comment.

Last year, Mr Paisley was suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days for "ser-ious misconduct" for failing to declare two family holidays to Sri Lanka in 2013.

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