Former minister Mary O'Rourke

Read more: Government wants to abolish Senate, Irish upper house

Former Fianna Fail government minister Mary O’Rourke has demanded over $3,500 in election expenses from her local branch of the party – after leaving the Irish parliament with a massive $400,000 plus pay-off and a $180,000 a year pension.

Fianna Fail members of O’Rourke’s local ‘cumann’ or branch of the party have criticized the politician’s claims for expenses related to her failed General Election campaign.

Locals in Westmeath even claim that the amount demanded by O’Rourke will put the Athlone branch of Fianna Fail into debt.

And they are bewildered by her demand for the cash so soon after leaving the Irish parliament with a lucrative cash pay-off of over $400,000 and an annual pension worth $180,000 a year.

Delegates at a meeting voted to pay O’Rourke just over $2,600 of her claim now as they only have $3,500 in their account.

One angry member told the Irish Independent: “If she had come to us a month or two ago, we couldn’t have said no, we would have had to hold fundraisers.

“Now that the election is over and she has her pay-off and her pension, we would have thought it would have been the other way around, that she would be giving us €5,000 because finances aren’t great.”

O’Rourke, three times a Minister, made a statement to the Irish Independent where she claimed the payments were normal for election candidates and denied she would leave the local branch of her party in debt.

“There are usually golf classics and fundraisers but there wasn’t the appetite for it this time,” she said.
“Lots of TDs would leave the Comhairle Ceantairs (branch) in debt. I have never done that and it’s not in debt, it’s even-steven.

“Most of the people in the room supported my position and that a forest of hands went up backing me.”

Read more: Government wants to abolish Senate, Irish upper house