Council Trip

The Council have voted to spend €10,000 to send Mayor Ian McGarvey, Deputy Mayor Michael McBride, Count Manager Seamus Neeley and another Council official to represent Donegal on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York.

Sinn Fein Councillor Jack Murray said it was the wrong time of the year to send them.

Last year’s Mayor, Frank McBrearty, told today’s Inishowen Independent that he was surprised at Sinn Fein’s objection as his party was always well represented on New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Donegal recently had their budget cut.

Value for Money?

So, is it money well spent? Do Donegal taxpayers get value for money from the trip?

Councillor McBrearty said that when they didn’t send people for two years, people over there felt insulted that they hadn’t?

I wouldn’t think that was a good enough reason to go to the parade. If the people insulted were to fork out the 10 grand then I’m sure everyone would be delighted for the Council to go there.


The problem is that people are very cynical of politicians and their motives. They think they just love Council jollies and any expenses they can get their hands on – and any excuse to get their noses in the trough, they take.

I would say that more than 90% of people would consider this just a council junket with no benefits accruing to local people. Indeed it is 100% of people I’ve spoken to about it.

That may be a bit cynical but people have become cynical.


So, is it worthwhile sending these guys over there?

The answer is that no one really knows.

No one has explained what hard benefits have accrued to Donegal and its people from the visits. Surely we don’t spend all that money to send them all that way to avoid people over there feeling insulted.

Maybe there have been benefits – but no one has explained what they were.

If they were to say, “because of our visit over there an Irish related travel company is now going to start running people across the Atlantic to attend events in Donegal”, that would be good news and a boost to the area.

Cost / Benefit Analysis

I’ve been at companies where I wanted to get a budget for a project. What you have to do is to do a Cost / Benefit Analysis.

You have to tell the board or the management what the costs are and then tell them how much money would be brought in if that money was spent on the project.

You can have Intangible Benefits. However, there must be enough Tangible Benefits to show that the money would be well spent.

Two Years

Typically they would tell you that any money spent would have to be recouped in a period of 2 years.

So, if you asked for €10,000 then that would have to bring in €10,000 extra in profits over the next 2 years.

It looks as if the case made by the Council has just Intangibles in it, i.e. not insulting people on the other side.


No Tangible Benefits have been put forward ast all to my knowledge.

If they presented this at a company they would be told to go back and quantify how much this ‘insult’ would cost the company/council.

If it turned out that we would lose more than 10 grand’s worth of business or tourist income over the next couple of years then their case may have been made and they might get the money.

However, there is no explanation of how much money it would cost us if we didn’t go and there is no explanation of how much money and business will accrue to the people of Donegal if they go over there.

If they made this submission to a Board of Directors at a company for funding it would have been rejected.

Again this is not to say that it is not worthwhile – just that they haven’t made their case.