€10,000: Hopkins’ Seanad foreign-travel expenses

Senator Maura Hopkins, from Ballaghaderreen, has received foreign-travel expenses of nearly €10,000 since she was elected to the Seanad last year.

Senator Terry Leyden also amassed costs of nearly €8,000 for attending meetings abroad.

Details released under freedom of information legislation show Oireachtas members from the Shannonside region have accrued foreign-travel expenses of €31,500 since the 2016 general election.

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By far the highest is the €9,700 Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins has amassed by attending six meetings of the Council of Europe, including five in Strasbourg.

A trip the Ballaghaderreen woman made to Yerevan in Armenia for an electoral-observations mission cost the state nearly €2,000 in flights, hotel and others expenses.

Senator Hopkins has defended the cost.

Her fellow Roscommon politician Senator Terry Leyden has made eight trips abroad during the current term of the Seanad, costing nearly €7,900.

He has attended committee meetings in Bratislava, Strasbourg, Malta and Tallinn, along with four trips to the UK and Brussels for British and Irish Parliamentary Assembly events.

Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan is also a member of that assembly, and the vast majority of the €2,900’s worth of foreign-travel expenses he has accrued have been due to its meetings.

Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has attended three Council of Europe meetings in Strasbourg in the current Dáil term, at a cost of €3,900 – more than a third of which were hotel fees.

Sinn Fein TD Martin Kenny has attended two meetings about Common Agricultural Policy in Brussels and Paris, along with an IPU gathering in New York, at a total cost of nearly €2,800.

Shannonside Oireachtas members’ foreign-travel expenses since 2016 general election

Frank Feighan – €2,895.97

Terry Leyden – €7,894.71

Maura Hopkins – €9,726.26

Martin Kenny – €2,768.69

Robert Troy – €3,933.11

Peter Burke – €444.87

Tony McLoughlin – €1,049.33

Eamonn Scanlon – €2,417.86

Willie Penrose – €331.21

Total: €31,462.01