Monday 19 March 2018

Father of TD's fiancée faces theft charges

Sarah Comiskey with her fiancé, Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan
Sarah Comiskey with her fiancé, Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The future father-in-law of Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan will appear in court today to face charges of fraud and theft over the sale of a car.

Brendan Comiskey - who is the father of Mr Conlan's fiancée Sarah - was recently arrested by gardaí in Monaghan following an investigation into the sale of a €8,500 Vauxhall Astra.

Mr Comiskey is active in Fine Gael in Monaghan and supported Mr Conlan's successful election campaign in 2011. Mr Comiskey, who has an address in Sussex, London, is due to appear in Carrickmacross District Court to faces the charges.

The 57-year-old, who is a nephew of former Bishop Brendan Comiskey, was arrested by gardaí in Modeece, Castleblayney in March.

A file was prepared by gardaí last year following a complaint from a member of the public, which was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The DPP directed that gardaí charge Mr Comiskey in recent months.

The Irish Independent previously revealed how Mr Comiskey was with Mr Conlan and his daughter when the Cavan-Monaghan TD arranged to buy a €10,000 diamond ring from a UK antiques dealer.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was subsequently contacted by antiques dealer Freya Hart, who sold Mr Conlan the ring.

Ms Hart said Mr Comiskey returned the ring on behalf of Mr Conlan after she contacted the Taoiseach. Both Mr Conlan and Ms Hart said the matter was resolved satisfactorily.

Separately, the Irish Independent has learned Mr Conlan has appealed against an Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling that found he unfairly dismissed his former constituency assistant Cathy Shevlin.

A report from the tribunal criticised Mr Conlan for "threatening" Ms Shevlin and said his evidence was littered with "inconsistencies". The tribunal made its ruling in mid-February and it ruled Mr Conlan should pay Ms Shevlin €25,000 in compensation for sacking her. Mr Conlan had six weeks to appeal the Tribunal's determination, which he did in March.

The tribunal found Ms Shevlin's sacking stemmed from a breakdown in communications between her and Ms Comiskey, who is also Mr Conlan's taxpayer-funded parliamentary assistant.

Ms Shevlin said the "dynamic" in the office changed when Ms Comiskey was hired and the pair clashed over the running of Mr Conlan's constituency office.

Mr Conlan claimed he was forced to sack his assistant because she breached the terms of her contract by giving sensitive voting information to his political rivals.

He also claimed she publicly undermined him by making comments on a local Fine Gael member's Facebook page about his failure to attend a meeting in the constituency. Mr Conlan did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Irish Independent

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