A Carlow councillor’s called for an end to “the gravy train” going to the local authority.
Cllr Adrienne Wallace raised the issue at the recent meeting of the County Council, proposing that all their conferences remain virtual once the pandemic is over.
The People Before Profit representative says they’ve saved over €7,000 in the past year by not having the events, which she called “junkets”, in person.
And she says those savings are too significant to justify a return to normal proceedings telling KCLR News “Ultimately it was about €7,000, it’s quite a high number really when it comes to public funds being spent so councillors can go off for nice dinners, so that they can have a few drinks in a different part of the country and I just think it’s really time to end that culture, to end that gravy train”.
She claims there’s no reason for the occasions to ever return in a physical format, noting “If councillors chose to go, if they find them fruitful, well then do it online, everything has moved online as it is and people have to work in that capacity so we should continue that because it could save the council thousands of euro and that would be a lot better spent in different areas; playgrounds, benches, more bins, that money would be better spent rather than councillors having a nice day out”.
Cathaoirleach Tom O’Neill took issue with the use of the word “junket” in Cllr Wallace’s proposal.
He claimed at Monday’s meeting that “no councillor here goes on junkets”.
But People Before Profit Cllr Wallace is insisting that the term is fair and accurate, saying “I absolutely do stand by my, from my own experience as a new councillor, someone from outside the establishment parties, meetings are definitely junkets, they’d love you to believe otherwise, but the fact is there’s thousands of euro of public money being misspent in my eyes to make sure these councillors are nice weekends away”.