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Michelle Mulherin repays €1,295 for African phone calls

The Mayo TD had previously repaid €2,000.

Michelle Mulherin pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2014.
Michelle Mulherin pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2014.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated: 18.13

FINE GAEL TD Michelle Mulherin has repaid a further €1,295 for calls she made to Kenya from her personal phone in Leinster House.

A spokesperson for the Oireachtas confirmed that Mulherin had repaid the money, but said they would not be commenting further on the matter.

The Mayo TD, who had previously paid back €2,000, repaid the additional funds after it emerged that 130 calls to an African mobile phone cost a total of €3,295.

Here are the Oireachtas receipts for the repaid money:

Screenshot 2015-02-24 at 18.10.48

Screenshot 2015-02-24 at 17.59.17

Source: The Oireachtas

The extra cost of the calls was discovered after Mulherin requested an investigation into how details of the situation made their way into the public domain following an RTÉ Investigations Unit report.

In a letter sent to the Ceann Comhairle, Mulherin said she was amazed to have been identified publicly.

Screenshot 2015-02-24 at 17.56.44

The Oireachtas report found that it did not release any material that might have identified the TD. It states:

No details in relation to calls dialled by Deputy Mulherin were released for both legislative reasons but also because the Oireachtas Service does not record that information.

Mulherin has not responded to TheJournal.ie’s request for comment.

Last month she confirmed on Today with Seán O’Rourke that the calls were made to an individual by the name of Danson Kole who she said had been “maligned and defamed” in the media. He worked on her election campaign in 2011.

Yes, I made some calls to Africa. None of them were personal. Indeed for the most part they pertained to a third party, who is a private citizen, who had been maligned and defamed in a newspaper article because of association with me and potential legal action arising there from.

At the time Ken Foxe, the RTÉ journalist who broke the story, pointed out on Twitter that many of the calls made to Kenya pre-date the newspaper article in question:

Mulherin said the calls, made between 2011 and 2013, were work-related.

She told RTÉ she repaid the money “to avoid any perception that I benefitted personally and to put an end to the distraction and disruption to my work as a TD”.

Originally published: 12.45

Background: Fine Gael TD: “Yes, I made some calls to Africa. None of them were personal.”

Read: Man questioned over suspected arson attack on Michelle Mulherin’s constituency office

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Órla Ryan

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