CO COUNCIL REFERS REPORT ON TV ALLEGATIONS TO STANDARDS IN PUBLIC OFFICE BODY

13 March 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A report carried out by Monaghan Co Council as a consequence of allegations made on an “RTÉ Investigates” programme in December of last year has been referred to the Standards in Public Office Commission, Chief Executive Eamonn O’Sullivan told Monday’s meeting of the Council.

A member of the Co Council, Hugh McElvaney, was one of three local public representatives featured on the programme, and against whom allegations of transgressions against public office standards were made as a consequence of their secretly filmed interactions with an undercover journalist posing at a representative of an overseas company seeking to set up wind farm projects in Ireland.

Colr McElvaney has strenuously denied any accusations of wrongdoing, making the case that he was aware from the outset that he was being subject to “a scam” which he played along with in order to expose what he has described as “the dirty tricks of the national broadcaster”.

A motion seeking the resignation of the Independent public representative, the longest-serving member of the Council and a Fine Gael stalwart until he split from the party last year (prior to the RTE broadcast) over the EirGrid North-South electricity interconnector issue, was subsequently passed at a special meeting of the Council.

Colr McElvaney has retained his membership of the Council and has requested at a number of recent meetings for the internal enquiry being conducted by the local authority as a consequence of the programme to be expedited.He was present for the early part of Monday’s meeting but had left the chamber before Mr O’Sullivan, under the item on the agenda “Business submitted by Chief Executive”, stated that, in accordance with provisions under the Local Government Act 2001, the Cathaoirleach [Noel Keelan of Sinn Féin] and himself had jointly considered a report of the Ethics Registrar into a possible contravention of the code of conduct for councillors.

“Having considered the report, we have taken the joint decision to refer the matter to the Standards in Public Office Commission for further consideration. We will be making no further public comment on the matter,” the Chief Executive told the meeting.

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