Thursday 20 October 2016

Councillors seek full RTÉ footage

Published 14/12/2015 | 02:30

Cllr Hugh McElvaney
Cllr Hugh McElvaney

Gardaí and colleagues of Hugh McElvaney on Monaghan County Council are set to seek unedited footage of the councillor's interactions with an undercover journalist from RTÉ.

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Members of the council have called an emergency meeting for Wednesday to discuss the fall-out from the RTÉ investigation, which showed the former mayor asking for £10,000 to help with a wind farm project.

Two of Mr McElvaney's former Fine Gael colleagues on the council, Ciara McPhillips and David Maxwell, would not go so far as to call for his resignation when contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday, saying they wanted to meet as a group to decide the party position.

Junior minister Simon Harris said he doesn't believe that Mr McElvaney and two other councillors - Joe Queenan from Sligo and John O'Donnell from Donegal - who featured on the programme can continue in their positions.

"All of the councillors involved have serious issues to reflect on and one wonders can they continue in public life. I certainty don't think they can," Mr Harris said.

Mr McElvaney, pictured, has said that, despite the controversy, he intends to run in the next local elections and expects to top the poll.

"The people around Corcaghan, no matter if I stood on me head, they'd still congratulate me," he said.

However, Sinn Féin councillor Pat Treanor, who shares his Ballybay-Clones constituency with Mr McElvaney, said his position is untenable.

"The best thing to do would be to resign. From listening to the anger of people in the area, he can put his name forward, but I don't think he'd do as well as he thinks," he said.

Independent councillor Paudge Connolly intends to tell the council to seek all of the footage recorded by RTÉ as part of its investigation.

"RTÉ created the sting and it's natural they would produce the evidence that best supports their argument. The logical thing would be to see the full tapes," he said.

Gardaí have obtained a copy of the show but sources say they are likely to seek more information from RTÉ.

Irish Independent

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