Two Louth council staff suspended amid inquiry into house purchases

It is understood the suspensions will continue until the completion of an investigation into the purchase of two houses by the council in 2010

 A council spokesman said this investigation was into “the acquisition of properties under the 2010 Social Housing Investment Programme”. Photograph: Frank Miller

A council spokesman said this investigation was into “the acquisition of properties under the 2010 Social Housing Investment Programme”. Photograph: Frank Miller

Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 01:02


The Department of the Environment has confirmed that two members of staff with Louth County Council have been suspended as part of an ongoing inquiry into an alleged conflict of interest.

It is understood the suspensions will continue until the completion of an investigation into the purchase of two houses by the council in 2010. It emerged last month that when the houses were bought by Louth County Council, they had been in the ownership of two members of staff of the council.


Second report
It was confirmed yesterday that the Louth county manager Philomena Poole has sought a second report into the events.

Addressing the monthly meeting of the county council yesterday, the manager, who took up her position in Louth earlier this year, said: “Members will be aware there has been some media coverage in relation to the council’s Social Housing Investment Programme for 2010. You will also be aware that I directed a review to be conducted by the council’s internal auditors Deloitte.

“That report was received by me last week and I have now instigated a full investigation into matters surrounding the purchase of the two particular properties involved. All of the appropriate steps and procedures have been put in place to facilitate this investigation.”

She said “the investigation team will start from scratch. The Deloitte report will not be made available to the investigation team, to the individuals involved or indeed to any third party, and I have emphatic legal advice to that effect.”


‘Timely manner’
“This investigation will be carried out in a timely manner; however, until it is fully concluded the council will not engage or comment on any matter which in any way surrounds it in order to ensure that the outcome is not prejudiced for the individuals involved or for the organisation.”

A council spokesman said this investigation was into “the acquisition of properties under the 2010 Social Housing Investment Programme”.

In relation to the suspension of two members of staff, the spokesman would only say that “all appropriate steps and procedures to facilitate the investigation have been put in place”.