Monday 25 September 2017

FG gets official complaint over councillors' rezoning

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny was under new pressure last night to inquire into the decision of Fine Gael councillors who voted to rezone the controversial land at the centre of the Fred Forsey corruption trial.

Forsey, a former Fine Gael councillor, was given a six-year jail sentence yesterday.

Fine Gael has now received an official complaint about the decision of seven sitting party councillors in Waterford -- including the brother of party TD Paudie Coffey -- to vote to rezone the land in May 2008, the Irish Independent has learned.

The councillors who voted for the rezoning have always stood by their decision, saying their sole concern was supporting job creation in the area.

The complaint was lodged by two other councillors.

The land in question was under garda investigation at the time the vote was taken.

Aside from the garda investigation, the then environment minister and the Waterford county manager advised against the rezoning on planning grounds.

Voted

Yet 13 Fine Gael and Fianna Fail councillors voted for the rezoning, even in these contentious circumstances.

Up to now, Fine Gael has failed to examine why its councillors voted for the rezoning, which a party councillor told Forsey's trial the "dogs in the street" knew there was a cloud over.

The Fine Gael councillor who passed that remark, Ann Marie Power, and a colleague, Maxine Keoghan, wrote to party headquarters lodging an official complaint because "the party has failed to respond accordingly".

Ms Power voted against the rezoning and Ms Keoghan was not on the council at the time.

In a scathing letter to the Fine Gael hierarchy, Ms Power and Ms Keoghan point out the controversy was brought to the attention of the party and Mr Kenny "at the outset of the investigation" -- and they refer to Mr Kenny's pledges on political reform.

A Fine Gael spokesman said the party was "aware" of the letter and was "looking into it".

Irish Independent

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