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04 Jul 2022

Cllr McBrearty Jnr stands by claims

“The problem you have got with me is that I'm squeaky clean - my whole life has been out in the public domain in the Morris Tribunal and in the courts and you can get no corruption on me - no systemic corruption, you can get nothing on me.

Cllr McBrearty Jnr stands by claims

Cllr Frank McBrearty Jnr at Monday's council meeting with his file of evidence he intends to produce to the High Court

Donegal County Council is fully committed to investigating all allegations of corruption, the local authority’s chief executive has said.

John McLaughlin said the council “will take the necessary steps to deal with any findings in line with the law”.

The comments were made at Monday’s meeting of the council during a discussion on allegations of corruption concerning the council’s purchase of five houses in Buncrana which have been affected by mica-infected blocks.

Allegations of corruption were made by independent councillors, Frank McBrearty Jnr and Micheál Choilm Mac Gioilla Easbuig at a council meeting last year.

The meeting initially heard an update from the council's chief executive on its investigations into the corruption allegations.

He outlined steps taken to date to prove the matter.

"The council is fully committed to investigating all allegations of corruption and will take the necessary steps to deal with any findings in line with the law," he said.

He added no response to the call for evidence of the allegations had been received from Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig while Cllr McBrearty Jnr has responded via WhatsApp messages.

He added he had decided that it was appropriate to commission an independent review in respect of the matters and will report separately to councillors when that review is concluded and which he expects to be in the very near future.

"I would say here that I view Cllr McBrearty's conduct and behaviour over recent months in particular to be the direct antithesis to what should be happening where a councillor wants to bring forward allegations of corruption against council staff or another member.

"Not only has there been widespread and repeated allegations circulated against a number of individual council staff and members as opposed to following the process set out in the 20th December letter and waiting for such processes to be concluded, the repeated accusations made of systemic corruption within the council have cast a cloud over the entire council.

"This has been done without any regard for the reputations of the individuals affected, the right to their good names and without due process or basic fair procedures of any kind," he said.

Cllr Nicholas Crossan asked if there was a timeline for the investigation as there was “a dark cloud” hanging over all councillors as a result of these allegations.

Cllr Gary Doherty called for evidence from the two councillors about corruption.

He singled out Cllr Micheál Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig stating he had not responded to the calls for evidence.

"He needs to man up and tell us exactly what he knows. If there was corruption we want to see action and justice.

“To ignore it and bury his head in the sand and pretend it didn't happen isn't good enough," he said.

Cllr McBrearty said he stood over every accusation he made against the council.

"This whole issue is all about what I have raised over the past year in this mica scandal which should be called the Defective Concrete Block scandal.

“Mica is not the problem. One of the problems is the systemic corruption in Donegal and I stand over those allegations.

"Anyone who says directly to me that I have made false accusations will have their opportunity in the High Court proceedings taken by Donegal County Council to prove what I have actually said is false.

“The problem you have got with me is that I'm squeaky clean - my whole life has been out in the public domain in the Morris Tribunal and in the courts and you can get no corruption on me - no systemic corruption, you can get nothing on me.

"The only thing you can get on me is false allegations, three different garda investigations, five separate Sipo investigations, High Court injunction proceedings and an affidavit, false and malicious and a set of High Court proceedings that you will never be able to defend against me.”

Several other councillors including Niamh Kennedy, Martin Farren and Michael McClafferty called on both Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig and Cllr McBrearty to publicly apologise for their accusations.

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