16 May 2022

Council blocks motion calling for an end to 'Paddy's Day junkets', claims councillor

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Carlow Carlow Carlow

Carlow County Council offices on the Athy Road

The local authority in Carlow has blocked a motion calling for an end to "Paddy's Day junkets", claims Cllr Adrienne Wallace. 

Cllr Wallace has expressed her dissatisfaction with Carlow County Council who blocked her motion calling for an end to publicly funded trips to America for St Patrick's Day from being heard at this month's Council meeting.

She brought forward a motion which stated: "That Carlow County Council refuse to fund the trips for representatives to any St Patrick's Day events abroad this year and instead donate the money ring-fenced for these trips to the local Rape Crisis Centre."

Cllr Wallace said this was a very important motion and feels the system is set up to ensure politicians are allowed to continue their publicly funded trips abroad and protect a culture of "free-loading".

She has questioned what the actual benefits of these expensive trips have for the people in Carlow.

Cllr Wallace said: "Every year politicians tell us they are going to America for St Patrick' Day to act as ambassadors for Carlow but I have never seen the minutes from any meetings where Carlow's economic situation was discussed with interested parties.

"In fact, our development plan doesn't even focus on or mention any new or budding economic ties with America. Elected reps and unelected officials have no brief, nor any checks or measures to report to the Council with upon their return.

"I have never heard of someone going on a work trip while not having to meet any actual requirements, why do politicians think they can continue taking the tax-payer for granted?"

Cllr Wallace added: "It's time to end the free-loading culture in our political system. The rape crisis centre in Carlow has had funding cut which has never been replaced.

"The people in Carlow have had to pay more in local property taxes, they want more accountability with how their taxes are being spent."

On having the motion removed from the agenda, Cllr Wallace said: "This is bureaucracy at its finest. Where the laws and rules are written to protect the interests of the status quo. People want change and I will be challenge this going forward."

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