Friday 24 November 2017

Details of Gilmore wife's interests off-limits to public

Fiach Kelly and Louise Hogan

THE wife of Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore has to declare her interests -- but the records are inaccessible to the public.

Mr Gilmore's wife, CEO of Dun Laoghaire Vocational Educational Committee (VEC) Carol Hanney, agreed to sell a school site for €525,000 to the Department of Education in 2005.

As a VEC CEO, Ms Hanney has to declare her interests, such as property, according to rules laid down by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO), but the details are off-limits to the public.

As a TD, Mr Gilmore also has to reveal his interests but Oireachtas rules say he does not have to include his wife's interests in his declarations, which are available to the public.

The Irish Independent yesterday revealed Ms Hanney had agreed to sell the two-and-a- half acre site to the board of management of Killimor national school in Galway for €140,000 just five years before agreeing the €525,000 sale.

The site, which is still untouched, is now valued at between €50,000 and €100,000.

The massive price inflation has embarrassed the Labour Party, which has been a consistent critic of the State paying exorbitant prices for land.

And Ms Hanney was paid a further €10,000 this year for a half-acre add-on to the site for a school hurling pitch and playground. The €10,000 came from a kitty built up by locals through fundraisers such as raffle ticket and cake sales, as well as a scheme where people could "sponsor" a brick in the local school.

Under rules set down by SIPO for employees of VECs, Ms Hanney only has to provide the chairman of her VEC with her declaration of interests.

SIPO officials say the declaration of interests is protected under data protection and ethics legislation and cannot be accessed under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

SIPO does not have Ms Hanney's records either but can request them if needed. Staff in the VEC said yesterday that Ms Hanney was unavailable for comment.

Irish Independent

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