Tuesday 24 April 2018

Secret State: Planning case heard behind closed doors

The political standards watchdog wanted me to breach the confidentiality of my sources, writes Philip Ryan

Independent News and Media (INM) journalist Philip Ryan and solicitor Kieran Kelly arriving to the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) public hearing Pic:Mark Condren
Independent News and Media (INM) journalist Philip Ryan and solicitor Kieran Kelly arriving to the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) public hearing Pic:Mark Condren
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Deep in the bowels of a Georgian building on Leeson Street in Dublin city centre, a behind-closed-doors State investigation into allegations of planning irregularities took place last week.

On Monday, the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) gathered in a large conference room in the basement of its headquarters to hear the opening statements of an investigation into activities in Mayo County Council.

The room was a hive of activity before Sipo chairman, retired judge Daniel O'Keeffe, and the other members of the commission took their seats. Solicitors marched in with hand-trucks full of files, witnesses sat anxiously wondering what they would be asked and a small cohort of the media readied their notebooks to record the proceedings.

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