Saturday 21 April 2018

Former mayor flees when asked about corruption scandal

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

THE former mayor of Dungarvan fled when asked questions about the corruption scandal which has rocked his home town.

Tom Higgins, who represented the Fine Gael Party until he turned Independent at the last general election, voted in favour of rezoning lands outside of Dungarvan in May 2008.

He lives in the picturesque area of Ballinacourty, where disgraced ex-councillor Fred Forsey set up home in a rented beach house with his young lover, Karen Morrissey.

Mr Higgins is one of 13 councillors who backed the rezoning -- going against the advice of the then environment minister John Gormley and best planning practice.

Industrial

While many of his colleagues defended their right to rezone the lands for industrial use, Mr Higgins, who runs a GP surgery in the town centre, said he "just didn't feel like" commenting on the matter.

Mr Higgins works in his GP surgery in Strandside South, Abbeyside, in the centre of Dungarvan.

When the Irish Independent approached him after he left his surgery following Mr Forsey's conviction last month, he repeatedly refused to answer questions.

When pressed about why he would not give a reason for the rezoning, as a public representative for the area, Mr Higgins did not offer any explanation.

He hurried across a busy street before entering a barber's shop to avoid further questions.

Mr Higgins was the politician who seconded the resolution adopted by Waterford County Council on May 12, 2008, to rezone the lands for industrial development.

Following the meeting, Mr Higgins was quoted in 'The Munster Express' as having said there was nothing wrong with councillors receiving representations from developers.

He said approaches were made by a wide conglomerate of business people who wanted the land rezoned.

Irish Independent

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