Councillors in RTÉ programme leave local authority body

Cllr John O’Donnell’s membership of LAMA terminated after he refused to resign

Cllr John O’Donnell from Donegal filmed in a meeting with an undercover RTÉ reporter. Mr O’Donnell ’s membership of the LAMA has been ‘terminated with immediate effect,’ after he refused to resign. Photograph: RTÉ

Cllr John O’Donnell from Donegal filmed in a meeting with an undercover RTÉ reporter. Mr O’Donnell ’s membership of the LAMA has been ‘terminated with immediate effect,’ after he refused to resign. Photograph: RTÉ

 

Two of the councillors who featured in the RTÉ Investigates programme on Monday night have resigned from Local Authority Members Association (LAMA), the councillors’ representative body.

The membership of a third councillor who featured in the programme, Cllr John O’Donnell, has been “terminated with immediate effect,” after he refused to resign, an emergency meeting of LAMA held in Tralee on Saturday has been told.

The Independent politician appeared in an RTÉ Investigates programme earlier this week which alleged he had asked for payment in return for helping a fictitious wind farm company to set up in Donegal.

Each county council is represented on the LAMA and 28 of the 31 members attended this morning’s meeting at the county council building in Tralee.

The meeting was called at short notice “in light of recent revelations into the standards of public office RTE Investigates programme,” it said in a statement issued after the meeting.

“The executive of LAMA are shattered and saddened by these revelations as we believe all of our members are throughout the country,” LAMA general secretary former Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Bobby O’Connell, ( FG) who is currently mayor of Killarney, said on behalf of the body.

“The LAMA executive, at its emergency meeting on Saturday December 12th has received resignations from Cllr Hugh McElvaney, Monaghan County Council and from Cllr Joe Queenan, Sligo County Council.

“These resignations have been accepted by the executive, unanimously. Cllr McElvaney who represents his county council on LAMA and had been an ex officio member of the board of LAMA attended the meeting in Tralee and tendered his resignation.

“Cllr John O’Donnell, Donegal county council, has indicated he will not resign his membership from LAMA. The executive decided at its meeting on December 12th to terminate Cllr John O’Donnell membership with immediate effect,” according to the statement issued after the meeting.

“LAMA remains committed and determined to represent and promote the highest standards which is expected and shared by our members,” Cllr. Mags Murray Chairperson LAMA said.

On Friday a special meeting of Donegal County Council passed a motion calling for the resignation of Mr O’Donnell.

Despite being filmed asking for a payment to be made to a third party, Mr O’Donnell (34) claims he was “entrapped” by the national broadcaster.

He said his only interest when meeting the company was to secure investment and jobs for Donegal.

A large group of protesters with posters calling for Cllr O’Donnell’s resignation gathered in the council chamber for the meeting, which lasted almost three hours.