Fianna Fáil councillor resigns from party after RTÉ report

Cllr Joe Queenan filmed offering to act as go-between in return for financial backing

Mr Queenan was recorded offering to act as an intermediary for the fictitious company in return for an investment in an agrifeed business he was planning. Pics: RTÉ

 

A Fianna Fáil councillor has resigned from the party after he was filmed offering to act as an intermediary for a company in return for an investment in an agricultural business he was planning.

However, Mr Queenan confirmed that although he had stepped down from Fianna Fáil, he will keep his council seat.

Sligo-based councillor Joe Queenan featured on an RTÉ Investigates programme last night which examined political lobbying.

As part of the programme, RTÉ reporters established a fake wind farm company and approached a number of councillors. Mr Queenan was recorded offering to act as an intermediary for the fictitious company in return for an investment in an agrifeed business he was planning.

Only Mr Queenan, did not return calls last night, can resign his council seat.

Fianna Fáil said it had accepted his resignation.

“Some of the behaviour displayed in tonight’s programme was shocking and completely unacceptable,” the statement said.

“The instances where there appear to be clear breaches of the law need to be fully investigated by the gardaí and prosecutions brought where appropriate.”

Another councillor featured on the programme is alleged to have demanded £10,000 sterling for help with planning issues, but accused the national broadcaster of setting him up.

Monaghan councillor Hugh McElvaney was director of elections for local TD Seán Conlan in the 2011 general election, and they both resigned from Fine Gael in recent weeks. stating it was over the issue of pylons.

In the programme, Cllr McElvaney is heard asking the reporter: “What’s in it for me?”

When she asks what he has in mind, he says: “£10,000 would be a start”. He warns her it has to be “utterly confidential – if you let me down, there’ll be war”.

On Shannonside Radio yesterday, Mr McElvaney said: “I knew I was being set up . . . I lured her [the reporter] into my trap.”

Dirty tricks

A third councillor, Independent John O’Donnell from Donegal, accused RTÉ of “entrapping” him during an investigation. RTÉ reported he asked for money for help with a wind farm development.

Mr O’Donnell said he was seeking legal advice on what he called the “sting operation” in Letterkenny’s Radisson Hotel last month.