Donegal County Council calls on John O’Donnell to step down

Independent councillor among politicians at the centre of RTÉ Investigates programme

Cllr John O’Donnell from Donegal filmed in a meeting with an undercover RTÉ reporter. Photograph: RTÉ

Cllr John O’Donnell from Donegal filmed in a meeting with an undercover RTÉ reporter. Photograph: RTÉ

 

A special meeting of Donegal County Council has passed a motion calling for the resignation of Cllr John O’Donnell.

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.

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.

Cross-party backing

John Campbell (Independent), a former council chairman, put forward a motion that Cllr O’Donnell resign from the council until procedures under Part 15 of the Local Government Act of 2001 are exhausted.

Fine Gael members of the council supported this motion as did some Independents, as well as Labour and Sinn Féin.

Fianna Fáil members said they were against all corruption and that Cllr O’Donnell’s position is untenable.

There were heated scenes at times as some councillors said it was simply impossible for them to work with Cllr O’Donnell in the future.

A statement issued earlier by Donegal County Council said the matters raised in the programme were being examined as an issue of urgency and priority.

“This examination is being conducted in the first instance by the Ethics Registrar in the council,” it said. “Pending the conclusion of this examination, the council will not be making any further statements at this time.”