Monday 18 December 2017

High Court clears way to probe senator's expenses

Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill
Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill

Tim Healy

The Court of Appeal has cleared the way for an investigation by the Standards in Public Office Commission into the alleged duplication of expenses claims by Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill (pictured).

The three-judge court rejected an appeal by the senator against the High Court's dismissal of his challenge to the investigation concerning travel and subsistence claims.

The allegations relate to claims made by him between 2006 and 2007, when he was a member of Donegal County Council.

In his judicial review proceedings, Mr Ó Domhnaill had claimed that the commission was not entitled to deal with the matters because they arose from an anonymous complaint by a member of the public.

Alternatively, he sought orders requring the case to be heard by a commission comprising members who are bilingual, claiming that his rights as an Irish speaker would be infringed.

The commission and State contended that the complaint concerned alleged duplication of expenses claims and was in the public interest.

Giving the appeal court's judgment, delivered in Irish, the judges disagreed that the complaint was anonymous and found the substantive complaint before the commission was one made by the mayor and county manager of Donegal County Council.

The court rejected arguments that the Constitution or the law requires that the Commission members hearing the complaint should be bilingual. Costs issues will be dealt with in October.

Irish Independent

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