05/10/2009

Opposition Circle Ceann Comhairle Over Claims

The leaders of the main opposition parties have a attack on the Ceann Comhairle over new revelations about his expenses.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said last night Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue should "consider his position", while the Labour leader Eamon Gilmore called for a meeting of all party leaders to discuss the claims.

The leaders rallied after it emerged over the weekend that the Daíl speaker Mr O’Donoghue had claimed €90,000 in foreign travel since taking up office in June 2007. Over €45,000 was spent on foreign travel, €13,000 for car and limousine hire, and just under €5,000 spent on VIP lounges over the last 24 months.

These new figures come within weeks of O'Donoghue issuing a full apology after disclosures that while Minister for Sport and Tourism his expenses included €1,400-a-day for limousine hire in Cheltenham, €250 for a water taxi in Venice and the use of the government jet to attend a constituency event in Kerry.

Speaking during an interview last night, the Labour said that because of the independence of the Ceann Comhairle a meeting of the party leaders was necessary to deal with the controversy.

In a statement issued today he said: "I am very concerned at the damage that is being done to the office of Ceann Comhairle and to the body politic by the continuing controversy.

"The disclosures over recent months, including the documents placed in the Dail Library on Friday, would appear to suggest a pattern of extravagance which is unacceptable to the taxpayers who are paying the Bill."

(DW/KMcA)

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