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Ex-city mayor breached ethics laws, probe finds

A FORMER Galway city mayor breached ethics laws by failing to declare tens of thousands of euro that he received for accommodation rental from his local council, a probe has found.

However, failed Fianna Fail general election candidate Michael Crowe has escaped prosecution because the council accepted he was unaware of the requirement to declare the income.

The investigation followed a complaint in January this year about Mr Crowe -- who remains a councillor but missed out on a Dail seat in February.

The complaint centred on income of around €40,000 a year which Mr Crowe was paid by the council for 11 properties -- many of them in and around the city centre -- under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).

Under ethics laws, Mr Crowe was required to declare this income each year but he failed to do so on his 2008 register of interests submission.

He also failed to declare the income at a council meeting about the RAS in 2009.

Yesterday, Galway City Council found that Mr Crowe had broken sections 171 and 177 of the Local Government Act 2001, which deal with declaration requirements for councillors.

However, city manager Joe O'Neill, who completed the investigation, found that the breach had been committed "in good faith".

"Following communication with the DPP, the city manager will not be seeking consent to initiate legal proceedings," a statement said.

Last night Mr Crowe told the Irish Independent that he was happy with the conclusion.

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