Donegal County Council to examine programme content ‘as an issue of urgency’

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Donegal County Council has stated that matters raised in an RTE Investigates programme on Monday night “are being examined as an issue of urgency and priority.”

The Council released a statement “in light of the content” of the RTE Investigations Unit ‘Standards in Public Office’ programme, in which an undercover journalist posed as a windfarm investor seeking help from three politicians. The councillors, one of which was Donegal County Councillor John O’Donnell, were filmed offering to lobby for the company in exchange for money or investment in a private business. Councillor John O’Donnell has denied any wrongdoing and said he is now taking legal advice. A number of Donegal County Councillors, including Colr. John O’Donnell, Colr Michael Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig and the Sinn Fein grouping in Donegal County Council have called for his resignation.

Donegal County Council said their examination into the matters raised is being conducted in the first instance by the Ethics Registrar in the Council.

A spokesperson said: “The examination will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Part 15 of the Local Government Act, 2001 – Ethical Framework for the Local Government Service, and the Code of Conduct for Councillors, and any matters arising from this examination will be processed in line with the provisions as set down. Pending the conclusion of this examination, the Council will not be making any further statements at this time.”

RTE also published a list on its website of over 40 councillors who, they state, accepted there were omissions in their statutory declarations. You can read the list here: http://www.rte.ie/news/investigations-unit/2015/1207/751922-the-councillors/

You can watch the programme on RTE Player.