Tuesday 26 September 2017

Councillor acted 'in good faith' when he broke law

Louise Hogan and Michael Brennan

THE nephew of Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has been found to have acted in "good faith" when he inadvertently broke the law by voting on a planning motion on Dublin city centre -- while he had an interest in an office building in the city.

Labour councillor Oisin Quinn was investigated by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) as a result of a complaint about his role in the Dublin City Council planning process.

Mr Quinn owned one-sixth of an office building on Lower Mount Street along with three of his brothers and two sisters. The building had been valued at €16m and is leased to the Revenue Commissioners until 2016.

Mr Quinn had taken part in a vote on motions that resulted in a new height limit of seven storeys for the inner-city Dublin area for office developments being ultimately adopted by the council in December 2010.

Mr Quinn, while welcoming the fact that SIPO had found he had acted in "good faith", last night said he believed the decision raised "serious questions" and would jeopardise the ability of local authorities to make development plans.

Sanctions

A complaint was made to SIPO by Independent councillor Cieran Perry and 'Village' magazine editor Michael Smith.

It was alleged that Mr Quinn had a conflict of interest in relation to certain motions relating to the development plan.

SIPO, in a decision due to be published today, found that he had contravened the 2001 Local Government Act by failing to disclose his and his family's interest and not withdrawing from the meeting.

The commission found the "contraventions were committed inadvertently". It also found Mr Quinn had "acted in good faith in relation to each of the contraventions". He will not face any sanctions from SIPO.

Mr Smith, speaking on behalf of himself and Mr Perry, said: "SIPO's decision seems essentially fair -- part of the problem was the advice given to Oisin Quinn by the management and law agent of the city council."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News