It has cost €300k to investigate senator’s €2k expenses

Brian Ó Domhnaill.

Brian Ó Domhnaill.

THE Standards in public office (Sipo) commission has spent almost €300,000 in its investigation into alleged duplication of expenses by Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill it has emerged.
The expenses, thought to be in the region of €2,000, were claimed by the Fianna Fáil senator when he was a member of Donegal County Council between 2006 and 2007.
Documents released to under the Freedom of Information Act show that just over €297,750 has been spent on legal and translation fees, as well as court costs.
The is reporting that the commission met on Monday and came to a decision on the case. A report is currently being drafted by Sipo, which will have to be translated into Irish and given legal approval before it can be published.
Back in May, a public hearing of Sipo heard Ó Domhnaill claimed travel and subsistence expenses from DCC for three meetings he attended in March, April and May 2006.
He claimed travel and subsistence expenses from Údarás na Gaeltachta for meetings taking place in other locations on the same dates.
Ó Domhnaill denied any wrongdoing and said he filled out his expense claims “as honestly as he could”.
As of 10 May, Sipo received invoices from law firm A&L Goodbody topping €156,000.
The commission has also spent over €25,000 on translation services from Snasta.
Sipo’s senior counsel Lúan Ó Braonáin has submitted invoices for over €67,000. In total, over €93,000 – including Ó Braonáin’s fee – has been paid out to barristers involved in the case.
High Court fees in connection with the case cost Sipo over €21,000.
The investigation was carried out in both English and Irish at Ó Domhnaill’s request.
In May, the senator said that “great damage” has been done to his name because of the investigation, but he believes he did the right thing in leaving conferences early to attend meetings in Donegal.

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