COUNCILLORS’ unused conference expenses can only be used for other purposes if it is agreed in advance at the time of the budget and if there is an agreed scheme in place for any such funds, county and city manager Conn Murray has explained to county councillors.
He was replying to Cllr Stephen Keary who wanted the €4,500 conference expenses he had not spent in 2012 to be used instead as a bursary.
Limerick’s Young Scientists had come up with some fantastic ideas, he said and the bursary would help them to develop those ideas.
In addition, many community groups were often caught for small amounts of money but there was no stream of funding available and he would like the money to go to them at his discretion.
“I am aware Cllr Leo Walsh had a similar motion last year and on that occasion his request was unsuccessful,” Cllr Keary said. But there is now a new county manager in place, he added, who was very familiar with Co Louth where a system had been put in place for conference expenses.
The problem, Cllr Walsh said supporting the motion, is that the unspent money “goes back in the pot and we don’t know where it is spent”.
County secretary Eugene Griffin explained that the money could not be transferred retrospectively.