Monday 19 March 2018

Martin's brother failed to declare holiday home share

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin with his brother Sean
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin with his brother Sean
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A brother of Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has admitted failing to disclose his interest in a family holiday home.

Veteran councillor Sean Martin omitted the property from an ethics declaration he filed with Cork City Council earlier this year and has now submitted an updated declaration which includes it.

He told the Irish Independent the property in Clonakilty was left to him and four others when his father died four years ago.

"I didn't declare my 20pc interest in it. I didn't realise I had to," he said.

His brother Micheál is also part-owner of the property, according to Land Registry records. However, his spokesman said he did not have to register his interest due to disclosure exemptions which apply to TDs but not to councillors.

Another Fianna Fáil member of Cork City Council, Cllr Kenneth O'Flynn, has also submitted an amended statement of interests in recent days. He had failed to declare that he was a partner in family-run business units in Cork city.

"It was an error on my part and has been fixed," Cllr O'Flynn said.

"With a lot of the stuff, you wouldn't know your name was on it because your mother and father own it."

The Cork-based councillors were among dozens of local politicians around the country who omitted interests they should have declared earlier this year.

Many of them have been rushing to correct the register after being contacted about the omissions by an RTÉ documentary team.

An independent member of Cork County Council, Alan Coleman, said he had omitted a house he owns in Charleville.

He also said he had declared land zoned for development he owns in Garrylucas, Co Cork as agricultural land.

Mr Coleman said he would have to amend his declarations. He had not excused himself from deliberations on the local development plan for the area, despite his ownership of the land.

He added that there was no change to the zoning of the land and he had not gained any advantage. Although zoned for development, it is being used for farming.

Fianna Fáil Mayo county councillor Paul McNamara omitted details of two companies of which he is a director. He did not return a call seeking comment.

Several members of the Oireachtas have also admitted omitting details from their declarations. They include junior minister Ann Phelan, who did not declare a second house she owns. The Labour politician said this was due to an oversight.

Fine Gael TD Aine Collins and Independent senator Mary Ann O'Brien did not disclose company directorships.

Ms Collins said this was due to an administrative error and she was correcting the register.

In a statement, Senator O'Brien said the company involved in her case had not been used in many years and she had genuinely forgotten about it.

Independent TD Noel Grealish did not disclose his interest in a glass manufacturing company which is in liquidation and has set about rectifying the record.

Fine Gael senator Tom Sheahan omitted a non-trading company from the register and has moved to have it included.

His party colleague, TD Tom Barry, said he genuinely forgot to declare three companies, but corrected this a fortnight ago.

Irish Independent

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