FG abandons payments case against councillor

 

Fine Gael has dropped disciplinary proceedings against Cllr Ann Devitt which were begun after she failed to give full information to a party inquiry in relation to political funding and planning matters. Cases against two other members, Senator Liam Cosgrave and another councillor, Mr Cathal Boland, are proceeding.

The decision was made after Cllr Devitt supplied additional information on political donations to the party's internal inquiry on political donations from builders, developers or their agents.

The inquiry's report, which was published in May, was prompted by claims by Mr Frank Dunlop in April that he had paid 16 councillors who supported Quarryvale rezoning. Ms Devitt admitted receiving support from Mr Dunlop. The party leader, Mr John Bruton, said he was very pleased the inquiry committee had been able to reach a conclusion which showed "no payment had any effect on her voting intentions" as a councillor.

Mr Bruton said he had received a copy of a supplemental report from Mr James Nugent SC in relation to further inquiries conducted by his independent committee into Ms Devitt.

The FG leader thanked Ms Devitt "most sincerely" for her political courage in making the difficult decision to return to the committee.

Mr Bruton said he had decided to send a copy of the report to the Flood tribunal. According to the committee's report, Ms Devitt gave them details of two bank accounts which had lodgements totalling no more than u£17,000 over a nine-year period, with only four lodgements over u£500, of which only two were made to her by builders, developers or their agents.

In a statement Ms Devitt said she was particularly gratified that "any real or perceived question marks over my conduct and integrity . . . have been removed".

Ms Devitt said she had decided to return to the committee now because she felt it was practical and pragmatic and "you can only stay angry for so long".

Mr Cosgrave said yesterday he expected to appear before the committee shortly.

"I don't perceive that at the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing there will be a negative report arising out of it. I'm happy to talk to them," he said.