Cllr Brigid Teefy will be part of the official delegation
INDEPENDENT members of Limerick City and County Council voted among themselves to decide which of them would travel to the United States for St Patrick’s Day, it can be revealed.
Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon and three councillors will travel to New York for six days next month at a cost of around €12,000.
The decision to send a delegation was approved at a meeting of the local authority last November after it was announced that Limerick man Michael Dowling is to be the Grand Marshal of the New York parade.
Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that following the meeting, Mayor O’Hanlon informed councillors by email that the party leaders had agreed the delegation would comprise of “one member from Fine Gael, one from Fianna Fail and the third would be selected from the remainder of the Members outside these groups.”
The documents show that Cllr Daniel Butler was selected to represent Fine Gael while Cllr Jerry O’Dea will represent Fianna Fail.
In a further email sent before Christmas the mayor sought expressions of interest from those who are not members of either party.
Six councillors – Elena Secas, Joe Leddin, Frankie Daly, Brigid Teefy, John Loftus and John Gilligan – all responded indicating their interest in travelling.
Noting this, Mayor O’Hanlon replied: “Given the number of responses from the persons interested in travelling, I have decided that the person nominated to travel to New York will be chosen from the Independent group.”
In the email, which was sent during Christmas week, Mayor O’Hanlon added that a member of the Labour Party will be selected to travel to Boston as part of a separate delegation in May.
A senior council official noted in a memo in early January that “following discussions” the mayor had confirmed that Cllr Brigid Teefy will represent the independent group of councilllors.
A futher hand-written memo confirms the delegation will fly with United Airlines from Shannon Airport to Newark International Airport.
As of February 3, the accommodation arrangements had not been finalised.