FG councillor in charge of policing quits after arrest for drink-driving

Ralph Riegel

A VETERAN Fine Gael councillor has stepped down from two senior council roles after being detained by gardai on suspicion of drink-driving.

Cllr Michael Hegarty (51) -- a married father of four -- has resigned as chairman of the Joint Policing Committee on Cork County Council.

His resignation came as it emerged that he was detained by gardai last month on suspicion of drink-driving.


He has also resigned as leader of the FG group on the council, one of Ireland's biggest local authorities.

Mr Hegarty confirmed the resignation as he said he did not feel it proper for him to continue in light "of an issue (which) had arisen with a road traffic matter."

He declined to comment further on the matter.

The Herald understands that Mr Hegarty was detained on August 21 at Ballymacoda, not far from his east Cork home.

Mr Hegarty -- who is an auctioneer by profession -- was also listed last month in Stubbs Gazette as owing €81,823 to the Revenue Commissioners.

That followed a High Court case on August 16 which involved the Collector General's arm of the Revenue Commissioners.

Mr Hegarty has since said that he is working on a repayment process with Revenue.

Mr Hegarty -- who had led the FG group on the council for five years -- ranks as one of the most popular and respected members on the authority.

He boasts friends across the political divide and is considered by many to be skilled at operating on a bipartisan political basis.


He issued a brief statement at this week's council meeting, in which he indicated that he now needed time to sort out his financial affairs.

He has been a councillor since 1985 and will continue in that role for the Ladysbridge/ Ballymacoda area.

Cllr Kevin Murphy will now take over as interim leader of the Fine Gael group on Cork County Council.