Local councillors’ expense claims probed in RTE investigation

A Leitrim councillor who was among a number of councillors investigated by the RTE Investigates programme in relation to the claiming of expenses says he erred in completing a claim and has since refunded the €355 involved.

Another former councillor from Sligo did not respond to queries from RTE Investigates, other than to say he had left local government more than two years ago on health grounds.

The RTE Investigates programme focused on the alleged double-claiming of expenses by a number of councillors throughout the country.

The investigation involved two local councillors, Leitrim Fine Gael Councillor Enda McGloin and former Sligo Fianna Fail Councillor Jerry Lundy.

While Cllr Lundy was featured on the television programme broadcast last night, Cllr McGloin was not. However, both councillors were among a number included in a lengthy written report on the RTE web site.

RTE Investigated one claim by Cllr McGloin, who is also a member of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly.

According to RTE Investigates, in 2019 Cllr McGloin, told the assembly he left home at 7am on Thursday 14th November for a Belfast meeting, due to take place between 10.30am and 4pm.

The report added that he returned home from the meeting at 6pm and claimed for an approximate round trip from Leitrim to Belfast.

However, claim records submitted to Leitrim County Council show that Cllr McGloin was at the Belfast Airport car park by 2pm that day.

He was due to catch a 3.40pm flight for an awards ceremony that evening in Leicestershire. He also submitted a claim to his council for a return trip from Drumshanbo to Belfast.

Cllr McGloin told RTÉ Investigates that September to December 2019 was “a particularly busy time” for him because he was Cathaoirleach of his council.

He said that, in the middle of December 2019, he was asked by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly to complete expense claims before end-of-year accounts.

He said that in his haste to do that, he errored in completing the claim of November 14th.

He said he had repaid the relevant sum of €355.22 to the NWRA.

RTE Investigates probed a number of claims by former Sligo Councillor Jerry Lundy.

Until he retired from Sligo County Council in 2019, Cllr Lundy was a member of the European Committee of the Regions, which involved frequent travel to Brussels and elsewhere in the EU.

In March 2015, Mr Lundy told Sligo County Council that he left home at 3pm, on a Thursday, for a conference in Monaghan, which opened that evening.

According to RTE, he said he returned home on Saturday.

But records seen by RTE show that Mr Lundy attended a Committee seminar in Zwolle, the Netherlands, that Thursday, scheduled from 9.15am to 4.30pm local time. The Committee of the Regions confirmed that Mr Lundy received expenses for this event.

The following month, Mr Lundy told Sligo County Council that he had left home at 8am on Friday 10 April, for training in Tuam, Co Galway, which started later that day.

But Committee of the Regions attendance records place Mr Lundy at a seminar that day, in Elblag, Poland, scheduled from 9am to 1pm.

Mr Lundy did not respond to queries from RTÉ Investigates, other than to say that he had left local government over two years ago on health grounds.

Cllr McGloin declined to comment to Ocean Fm News. There was no response from Cllr Lundy.

Among those watching the RTE Investigates programme last night was former longtime Sligo Fianna Fail Councillor Albert Higgins.

He told the North West Today Show that in his time, it was very clear how to fill out expenses-claims forms.