Sunday 8 December 2019

Judge warns controversial councillor he’ll be arrested if he fails to show up to face €33k compensation claim

John O'Donnell
John O'Donnell

Greg Harkin

A JUDGE has warned a controversial politician that he will order his arrest if he fails to appear in court next month in relation to a compensation claim against him.

Judge Paul Kelly issued his warning to Donegal County Councillor John O'Donnell at Letterkenny District Civil Court today.

Cllr O'Donnell had failed to pay anything of a personal injury claim to Petra Kucklick, of Rooskey, Creeslough, Co Donegal, which was ruled upon in 2008.

It relates to an incident in 2000 in which Cllr O'Donnell had run over Ms Kucklick's foot with his car.

Barrister for the complainant, Laura O'Reilly, told Judge Kelly that Cllr O'Donnell was now €33,000 behind in payments to her client and that he had failed to comply with the instalment order.

She said Cllr O'Donnell had failed to provide details of his Northern Ireland bank accounts and asked for a warrant to be issued for his arrest.

Ms O'Reilly also alleged that assets including properties could be seen in Cllr O'Donnell's Republic of Ireland bank accounts as "garnering considerable rents".

Kevin McElhinney, solicitor for Cllr O'Donnell, said his client was out of the country today and was unable to appear in court.

He said any assets listed in a statement of means provided to the court had considerable debts against them, giving an example of a property worth €130,000 with debts of €180,000.

However Ms O'Reilly said none of the bank account details provided to the court showed any outgoing mortgage payments.

Judge Paul Kelly ordered that Cllr O'Donnell provide an updated statement on his assets and means within four weeks to Ms Kucklick.

"Those answers should be in court," said Judge Kelly.

The judge told Mr McElhinney: "Explain to Mr O'Donnell that if he is not here in court on February 3 I will issue a warrant for his arrest."

Last month Cllr O'Donnell was at the centre of an RTÉ investigation into allegations of political corruption.

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