‘Full examination’ by Monaghan council of lobbying issues

Cllr Hugh McElvaney alleged to have sought stg£10,000 for help with planning issues

A third county council has said it will review issues raised in an RTÉ programme on political lobbying.

Monaghan County Council has said it is carrying out a "full examination" of issues raised in the RTÉ Investigates: Standards in Public Office programme, which featured Monaghan councillor Hugh McElvaney.

Cllr McElvaney, who recently resigned from Fine Gael to become an Independent, is alleged to have demanded £10,000 sterling for help with planning issues, but accused the national broadcaster of having set him up.

In a statement on Wednesday, Monaghan County Council said it is “carrying out a full examination of the issues raised in relation to this local authority on the RTÉ programme”.

“The examination will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of part 15 of the Local Government Act, 2001 - Ethical Framework for the Local Government Service, and the Code of Conduct for Councillors.

No further comment

“Any matters arising from this examination will be processed in line with the provisions as set down. Monaghan County Council will not be making any further comment on this.”

Donegal and Sligo County Councils have already announced they are also reviewing issues raised in the programme.

It featured Donegal councillor John O’Donnell asking for money to help with a wind farm development.

‘Sting operation’

Mr O'Donnell has accused RTÉ of "entrapping" him during the investigation and said he was seeking legal advice on what he called the "sting operation" in Letterkenny's Radisson Hotel last month.

Also arising from the programme, a Fianna Fáil councillor 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.

Joe Queenan confirmed that though he had stepped down from Fianna Fáil, he will keep his Sligo County Council seat.

Sligo County Council also confirmed its ethics registrar is conducting an review to the issues surrounding Mr Queenan.