Wednesday 18 September 2019

Fianna Fáil Senator resigns after ethics breach

Donegal politician Brian O Domhnaill
Donegal politician Brian O Domhnaill Newsdesk Newsdesk

Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has resigned from the party, after he was found to have breached ethics legislation.

The State ethics watchdog found Mr Ó Domhnaill intentionally breaking ethics legislation after he claimed expenses from two separate bodies for the same trip over a decade ago.

The Senator was found to have breached ethics rules by the Standards in Public Office Commission after claiming expenses from both Donegal County Council and Údarás na Gaeltachta on three occasions in 2006.

In each instance hundreds of euro in travel and subsistence were claimed for attendance at events taking place simultaneously hundreds of kilometres apart.

This evening, Mr Ó Domhnaill resigned from Fianna Fáil following the ruling.

It is understood he intends to continue in the Seanad as an Independent.

In March 2006, Mr Ó Domhnaill travelled from his home in Falcarragh to Dundalk for a three-day conference but returned to Letterkenny on the second day for a meeting of the Donegal Sports Partnership, at which he represented Údáras na Gaeltachta.

He claimed almost €642 from Donegal County Council and just under €93 from Údáras.

In April 2006, he travelled to Carrickmacross for a two-day training seminar, returning to Letterkenny on the second day for another Donegal Sports Partnership meeting.

He claimed almost €500 from the Council and almost €77 from Údáras.

In May 2006, he travelled to a two-day tourism conference in Carlingford, Co Louth but left for a Donegal Sports Partnership event in Dungloe on the second day.

He claimed over €680 from the Council and just over €83 from Údáras.

Following an inquiry, SIPO found "that each contravention was committed intentionally and was, in all the circumstances, a serious matter."

In a statement, Údarás na Gaeltachta said: "Although the SIPO report has not been reviewed in total as yet, Údarás na Gaeltachta are satisfied that the appropriate payments were made to Mr Ó Domhnaill based on the claims he had made for travel and subsistence costs to attend meetings of Údarás and Donegal Sports Partnership.

"Attendance at these meetings in their entirety was confirmed in all cases. Therefore, at this stage, Údarás na Gaeltachta are satisfied that there is no basis to seek the recoupment of paid claims from Mr Ó Domhnaill."

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