The Mayor of Donegal, Councilor Brendan Byrne, has been forced to pay for his trip to New York for St Patrick's Day celebrations.

Donegal councilors voted 14 to 13 in favor of withdrawing financial support to the Mayor and his deputy Charlie McConnalogue.

The two will travel to the U.S. at their own expense, and they estimate their trip will cost between $5000-$5,500.

It will be the first time in 25 years that the traditional St Patrick's Day trip will not be paid for by Donegal’s County Council.

The annual trip usually costs the taxpayer $20,500, and is usually attended by the mayor and another official.

Byrne said he booked flights to New York at the end of January, as he had anticipated the council’s decision.

The Donegal mayor will attend Donegal Association functions in  both New York and Chicago.

Donegal has lost over 400 jobs in the last two years. During the same period, Donegal’s County Council budget has also been halved.

Sinn Fein had previously asked the council to be accountable and spend wisely during the present economic hardship in Ireland.

Byrne said that he hoped that other councils around the country would follow suit.

“There’s a perception amongst the general public that county councilors have their snout in the expenses trough. I’m breaking that mould and I hope others will follow suit in the years ahead,” said Byrne.