A Waterford County Councillor was among those who attended last weekend’s controversial Facebook conference in Killarney.
Tallow-based Cllr John Pratt (Labour) spent two nights at the event which was held at the three star Killarney Heights Hotel.
Entitled ‘Facebook for Councillors – a Business Perspective’, the crash-course aimed to provide councillors with knowledge of the social networking site and how it could be used to their advantage.
The course attracted widespread criticism last week before it commenced, branded as a “waste of taxpayers’ money.”
However, Cllr Pratt says he didn’t do anything wrong by attending.
“I don’t go to conferences for the sake of going. I go if they’re beneficial to me and the people I represent,” he stated.
“When it started getting bad press, I felt that if I pulled out, it would look like I was doing something wrong, but I didn’t feel that way. I want to be open and straight. Anyone I’ve met since, I’ve told them I was there. I never hide anything,” he said.
A place on the course cost almost €200 per councillor – a bill footed by the taxpayer. That amount doesn’t take account of additional expenses which may be claimed.
Cllr Pratt attended the conference all day Saturday, and stayed Saturday night, accompanied by his wife.
He also decided to spend Sunday night at the hotel, but stressed that payment for the second night’s stay, and payment for the duration of his wife’s stay, was from his own pocket.
Cllr Pratt believes the conference was very beneficial and helped him understand more about Facebook.
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