The Mayor of Donegal has opted to pay for his own flights to the US for St Patrick's Day after Donegal County Council voted not to send a delegation this year.

For over 20 years the Council has been sending representatives to the US in response to invitations from the Philadelphia Donegal Association and Donegal Association of New York.

In recent years the practice has been to send the county's Mayor, Deputy Mayor and one council official.

Last year's trip cost €14,282.

This year, with the Council under severe financial pressure, many councillors argued against funding the trip.

This afternoon, it was decided not to authorise a trip by 14 votes to 13.

However, Mayor of Donegal Fianna Fáil Councillor Brendan Byrne said he anticipated this outcome and had already booked his own flights.

He said he will be travelling to New York and Chicago with his Deputy Mayor in a personal capacity at their own expense.