Television revelations name councillors for ‘oversights’
By Mary Dennehy
DUBLIN South-West councillors Anne-Marie Dermody and Paul Foley were among those named by an RTÉ Investigates programme earlier in the week, which revealed a list of public representatives who had not declared properties or commercial interests.
The research carried out by the national broadcaster examined property, corporate and occupational interests of every politician in the country, focusing on areas where there were discrepancies between official declarations and public records.
Since the programme, more than 40 councillors across the country have accepted that there were omissions in their statutory ethics declarations.
Locally, two councillors landed on the investigation team’s radar, Rathfarnham Fine Gael councillor Anne-Marie Dermody and Templeogue Fianna Fáil councillor, Paul Foley.
According to the investigation’s findings, Cllr Dermody, who will be a candidate in the upcoming General Election, fáiled to register a house in Clondalkin and another in Portumna, County Galway.
Cllr Dermody, who is a working solicitor, also did not disclose her directorship of a firm called Diarmuid Gavin Designs Ltd.
In her response to RTÉ, Cllr Dermody said that the fáilure to include her property interests had been “an omission” on her part.
She said that she had rectified the error and that there was no conflict of interest with either property and that both were let to tenants and properly registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).
However, The Echo understands that some of Cllr Dermody’s colleagues on South Dublin County Council are questioning whether there is a conflict of interests, especially in light of Cllr Dermody voting against two separate in-fill housing projects in recent months.
In relation to Diarmuid Gavin Designs Ltd, Ms Dermody said that the company hadn’t traded in several years and that she had formally resigned both her directorship and shareholding in the firm.
Cllr Dermody, who received a €50,000 garden make-over by Gavin on his RTÉ programme in 2006, said: “The facts remain, through oversight, the Declaration was not completed correctly, but the record has since been rectified.”
Fianna Fáil’s Paul Foley was listed after he fáiled to register his directorship of two different companies, Reefercare Containers Limited and Tolka Quay Holdings.
His response to RTÉ was that both companies were “non-trading”, and hadn’t traded in more than eight years.
He said: “For this reason, they slipped my mind while I was making my return.
Mr Foley has since contacted South Dublin County Council to correct the record.
Neither Cllr Dermody nor Cllr Foley responded to The Echo in time for print.
While the programme has generated much debate in recent days, a number of politicians have expressed disappointment that small declaration errors were featured alongside more serious omissions and allegations of corruption.