County council official acts for the authority in the purchase of his own home, Dáil hears

Dessie Ellis says local authority bought 18 houses, two of them from their staff

Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan: said an independent review process was under way and was almost complete

Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan: said an independent review process was under way and was almost complete

Fri, Oct 18, 2013, 01:00


A senior executive in Louth County Council acted for the local authority when it purchased his home, it was alleged in the Dáil.

He was one of two senior officials in the authority’s housing department to sell a house to the council in 2010.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams highlighted the two sales as he demanded to know if proper procedures were ignored in the alleged conflict of interest.

He asked Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan if she believed that “proper processes were followed if the person selling the house to the council was also the person buying the house on behalf of the council”.


‘Conflict of interest’
His party’s housing spokesman, Dessie Ellis, said the local authority bought 18 houses, two of them from their staff. “That is an obvious conflict of interest.” He added that each of the officials selling their home recommended the other’s for purchase. Mr Ellis said one of the properties, which was bought for €137,500, was a three-bedroom bungalow in Tullagee, Knockbridge, and it had “serious questions over its suitability” for social housing.

He said it did not have the required building energy rating when the purchase was signed off and when an analysis was carried out the house received an E1, a very low grade.

The Dublin North West TD said the first tenant requested to be moved because the house was too cold and significant funding had to be used to upgrade the house. He said there were “further questions over rumoured inspections that yielded negative reports before and after purchase, which are now missing or unavailable”.


Independent review
Ms O’Sullivan said an independent review process was under way on the issue and was almost complete. When the issue was brought to the department’s attention a report was requested from the authority on the alleged conflict of interest.