By Shane Phelan
Council paid Fahy while in prison
A COUNTY council continued to pay a councillor even though he was in jail and could not attend meetings.
Independent councillor Michael ‘Stroke’ Fahy (57) received his full representative pay of just over €16,600 from Galway County Council last year despite spending seven months behind bars.
The former Fianna Fail councillor was released from Castlerea Prison last December after the Court of Criminal Appeal set aside a conviction he received.
The Ardrahan-based politician confirmed he received the payments when contacted by the Irish Independent last night.
He said he would have lost his council seat if the payments, which were all legitimate and came in monthly instalments, had stopped. Last night a spokesman for Galway County Council was unavailable for comment.
Cllr Fahy refused to say whether he was able to provide a service to his constituents while he was in prison. “I’ve no comment on that,” he said.
The councillor said he had suffered a heart attack shortly before his incarceration. But despite the dip in his health — which he described as now being “fair to middling” — he said he had been very busy on council work since his release.
“I have been busy making representations for people on a lot of issues. It could be anything like looking for a home improvement grant for someone or a medical card,” he said.
“People are always contacting me about roads and other issues as well.”
Details of the payments to Cllr Fahy were contained in documents given to the Irish Independent by Galway County Council under the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents revealed that Cllr Fahy received a total of €21,083 in wages, expenses and allowances from the council in 2006. He also received €20,298 in wages and conference expenses last year.
Cllr Fahy said the conference expenses, which totalled almost €3,700, were claimed for conferences he attended prior to his incarceration.
He said absolutely no expenses were claimed by him during his time in jail.
Cllr Fahy topped the poll in the Loughrea area during the last two local elections in 1999 and 2004 when he was a Fianna Fail representative.
He received 2,068 first preference votes in 1999 and 2,004 votes in 2004.
Fahy was convicted in the Circuit Criminal Court in Galway on seven counts of fraud, attempted theft, deception and false accounting following a garda inquiry into the erection of council funded fencing on his farm in 2002 and 2003.