Media Statement - Investigation Report by the Standards in Public Office Commission

15 December 2016

Standards in Public Office Commission

Media Statement - Investigation Report by the Standards in Public Office Commission

The Standards Commission has today published its investigation report about alleged contraventions of the Ethical Framework for the Local Government Service (Part 15 of the Local Government Act 2001) by Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill, a former member of Donegal County Council. The report follows an investigation hearing held on 9 May 2016.

The Standards Commission has found that Senator Ó Domhnaill contravened ethics legislation when, as a councillor, he submitted claims for travelling and subsistence expenses from two separate bodies for the same dates.

The investigation concerned nine alleged contraventions of ethics legislation, which arise from three sets of circumstances. The Standards Commission found against Senator Ó Domhnaill in regard to each of the alleged contraventions.

The Standards Commission found that Senator Ó Domhnaill contravened sections 168 and 169(3) of the Local Government Act 2001, acted in disregard of provisions of the Code of Conduct for Councillors and did a 'specified act' within the meaning of the Standards in Public Office Act 2001 in regard to each set of circumstances. The Standards Commission found that each contravention was committed intentionally and was, in all the circumstances, a serious matter. The Commission also decided that it is not in a position to find that Senator Ó Domhnaill acted in good faith in relation to the contraventions.

In accordance with the requirements of the Act, the Commission has sent copies of its report to Senator Ó Domhnaill, to Mr Seamus Neely, Chief Executive, Donegal County Council and to Councillor Terence Slowey, Cathaoirleach, Donegal County Council. A copy was also sent to the Ministers for Public Expenditure and Reform and for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.

The investigation report, together with full details of the Standards Commission's findings and determinations, is available here: http://www.sipo.gov.ie/en/Reports/Investigation-Reports/Investigation-Report-Senator-Brian-Ó-Domhnaill-formerly-of-Donegal-County-Council-and-Údarás-na-Gaeltachta/

Standards in Public Office Commission
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2
D02 HE97

Telephone: 01 - 6395666
E-mail: sipo@sipo.ie
Website: www.sipo.ie
Twitter: @SIPOCIreland

Notes for editors:

The following is the section of the Local Government Act 2001 which the Standards Commission found Senator Ó Domhnaill to have contravened.

Section 168 of the Local Government Act 2001 provides:

"In carrying out their functions under this or any other enactment, it is the duty of every member and every employee of a local authority and of every member of every committee to maintain proper standards of integrity, conduct and concern for the public interest."

Section 169(3)(a) of the Local Government Act 2001 provides:

"Each member shall have regard to and be guided by the relevant code of conduct in the exercise of his or her functions."

A 'specified act' as referred to in section 4 of the Standards in Public Office Act 2001 is

"... an act or... an omission... that is, or the circumstances of which are, such as to be inconsistent with the proper performance by the specified person of the functions of the office or position by reference to which he or she is such a person or with the maintenance of confidence in such performance by the general public, and the matter is one of significant public importance..."