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Bobby Aylward Facebook

FF candidate says he 'never got a letter' over expenses claims... but he got THREE

Bobby Aylward was among over a hundred politicians who received letters about over-claiming expenses six years ago.

FIANNA FÁIL’S CANDIDATE in the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election, Bobby Aylward, today denied receiving letters from Oireachtas authorities about over-claiming expenses – despite evidence to the contrary.

On local radio, Aylward denied claims he had received letters from Leinster House authorities about over-claiming expenses in 2009 when he was a TD in the last Dáil.

In a lengthy and heated by-election debate on KCLR, the former Fianna Fáil deputy described such claims, made by a fellow candidate, as “total nonsense”.

However, a spokesperson later acknowledged that Aylward was among over a hundred politicians who received letters notifying them of “small administrative errors in their office expenses”.

In the course of making a point about corruption, the People Before Profit candidate Adrienne Wallace raised the issue during this morning’s radio debate.

She said that Aylward received letters about incorrectly claiming expenses for overnight stays in Dublin when the Dáil was sitting. This prompted an angry response from her fellow by-election candidate.

“This is a serious allegation about me – that I drew expenses for some reason untold. That’s total nonsense. You better get me the proof,” Aylward said. 

“I was never brought into an office above in Dublin… never brought in and asked to know about these claims or wrong claims. 

He added:

I never got a letter in my life. I never got a letter in my life. This has to be withdrawn. I never got a letter from anyone in the Oireachtas in my life. I never personally got a letter from the Oireachtas that I withdrew. Never in my life did I get a letter.

KCLR / YouTube

However, as the wrote in February 2011, Aylward was among over 100 politicians who claimed expenses to which they were not entitled between 2007 and 2009 – and he received three letters about three separate issues in 2009.

Among the other politicians who received similar letters were future taoiseach Enda Kenny, future president Michael D Higgins and future EU commissioner Phil Hogan.

The documents were obtained from the Houses of the Oireachtas by the journalist Ken Foxe, who now works for RTÉ’s Investigations Unit.

Within the documents are three letters related to Aylward. Two show how he was written to twice for over-claiming for a single night’s stay in Dublin worth €130:

Aylward B

Aylward C

A third letter shows Aylward, who is the brother of former Fianna Fáil MEP Liam Aylward, was also written to for claiming an overnight stay in Dublin when he was in fact in Brussels with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Change delegation:

Aylward A

The Aylward campaign hit back this evening, saying that the candidate’s comments had come in the context of ”unfounded and completely unfair accusations of corruption” being made against Aylward.

“Bobby has never received any official correspondence accusing him of such a thing and made that point forcefully during the debate,” they said.

“The allegations made by the other candidate were based on a widely publicised issue in 2011 when a large number of cross party TDs were notified of small administrative errors in their office expenses.

“To attempt to distort this administrative error, as this candidate did during the debate, was outrageous and was not going to pass unchallenged.”

Read: With mutters of ‘Jesus Christ’, an exasperated Vincent Browne presided over a bizarre debate last night

Read: This untaxed van parked in a loading bay is ‘not a Fianna Fáil campaign vehicle’

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