Friday 20 September 2019

Ó Domhnaill vows to clear his name after expenses probe

Mr Ó Domhnaill said he had been the victim of a 'political smear campaign'. Photo: Tom Burke
Mr Ó Domhnaill said he had been the victim of a 'political smear campaign'. Photo: Tom Burke

Niall O'Connor

A politician who was the subject of adverse findings by the State's Ethics Watchdog has vowed to take a High Court challenge in order to clear his name.

Donegal senator Brian Ó Domhnaill said he was "gutted" when the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) found he intentionally breached ethics legislation after he claimed expenses from two separate bodies for the same trip over a decade ago.

Following an inquiry, Sipo found "that each contravention was committed intentionally and was, in all the circumstances, a serious matter".

But Mr Ó Domhnaill said he had been the victim of a "political smear campaign" by an anonymous complainant and that the report's findings had "completely undermined and compromised by personal and professional integrity and character".

Mr Ó Domhnaill, who resigned the Fianna Fáil whip last week, made the claims in a seven-page document sent to members of the parliamentary party just before the Dáil recess.

"I have always endeavoured to represent and serve the public in all duties and in all my public positions with honesty, integrity, respect and honour," he said.

"This is why this report has completely gutted me, particularly given the political smear campaign at the heart of the original complaint concerned, comprising allegations from an anonymous complainant," Mr Ó Domhnaill wrote.

Mr Ó Domhnaill said he "categorically" refused to accept the watchdog's findings that he breached ethics legislation.

Irish Independent

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