Michelle Mulherin says none of her calls to Africa were personal

Mayo Fine Gael deputy says she will repay the €2,000 cost of the calls, if required to do so

 A file image of Michelle Mulherin  arriving at Leinster House. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

A file image of Michelle Mulherin arriving at Leinster House. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin says she will repay the costs of the calls made to Africa from her Dáil office, if she is required to.

The Mayo TD is alleged to have made calls costing €2,000 to a mobile phone in Kenya between 2011 and 2013.

Ms Mulherin said she did make calls to Africa but said they were not personal.

She confirmed the person she made calls to was Danson Kole and they were related to work.

“Yes I made some calls to Africa. None of them were personal” she said.

“What I am maintaining is I didn’t act outside the jurisdiction or what I’m allowed to do as part of my job of a politician.

“I’ve had communications with Dan over a period of time. He’s somebody that I would have dealings with in relations to political situations, as I do have other people who I call political confidantes.”

“If I want to make calls besides, I can make them on my own phones, and I’ve done it.”

Ms Mulherin said she had contacted the Ceann Comhairle to get “to the bottom of it” and had not been approached by any official from the Oireachtas regarding a problem on her phone usage.

“I have absolutely no problem in making a refund if that’s what is required,” she said.

“In fairness, there’s phone calls listed there to everywhere in the world. We’re a parliament, we’re international as well, and I would like to get more information.”

“I’d just like to make the proviso, all calls have been made in the course of my work, nothing else.”

Ms Mulherin told RTÉ Radio One’s Sean O’Rourke programme that the bigger issue was confidentiality.

“If a private individual contacts me or I contact them, and it’s a private matter, is that gone by the wayside?”