Friday 20 April 2018

'The people of Sligo still back me' - Cllr Joe Queenan says he is delighted by local support after corruption sting

Joe Queenan: filmed by RTÉ
Joe Queenan: filmed by RTÉ

David Kearns

A councillor who resigned from Fianna Fáil after he was exposed in a corruption sting says he is delighted to still have the backing of his constituents.

Cllr Joe Queenan was caught on camera by RTÉ's Prime Time Investigates seeking a possible investment to set up an agri-business in return for acting as an intermediary for a windfarm project for county Sligo.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Drivetime, the former Fianna Fáil representative said the ‘people of Sligo’ were furious over the sting.

“The people of my area are absolutely furious over how this was done,” Mr Queenan said.

Read More: Former FF councillor threatens to sue RTÉ over 'sting'

“[And] I’ve been delighted by their reaction and support.

“This whole thing was a sting and I was setup. I was only speaking of a hypothetical situation.”

The councillor said he was "absolutely gutted" by what had happened and apologised for his actions.

However, Mr Queenan insisted he felt entrapped by “the beautiful Nina” and RTÉ, saying that despite how it might have appeared on Monday night’s broadcast he had “done nothing differently than any other councillor would have”.

Read More: The quiet man of Sligo politics at the centre of a national scandal

Asked by host Mary Wilson if he “would do the honourable thing” and resign his position on Sligo county council, Mr Queenan responded with “absolutely not”.

“I apologise wholeheartedly for what I said but it will be the people of Sligo who will adjudicate on me in the future.”

As part of the programme, RTÉ reporters established a fake wind farm company and approached a number of councillors.

Mr Queenan was recorded offering to act as an intermediary for a company in return for an investment in an agri-feed business he was planning.

Read More: Firms run by O'Donnell paid €330k in settlements for underdeclared taxes

RTÉ has issued a statement saying it stands over the programme and acted with integrity at all times in their investigations.

The statement said: “RTÉ is entirely satisfied that we acted appropriately and in the public interest.”

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