Tag Archives: Donegal County Council

hogan2[Environment Minister Phil Hogan]

You may recall how, in June 2010, following a series of complaints, the then former Environment Minister John Gormley announced that there would be inquiries – and appointed inspectors to carry out those inquiries – into alleged planning irregularities.

The inquiries were to take place at seven local authorities – Dublin and Cork City Councils and Carlow, Galway, Cork, Meath and Donegal County Councils.

However, just months after the formation of the current Government, following in 2011 Environment Minister Phil Hogan terminated the inquiries.

Instead, an internal review by the Department of the Environment was published in June 2012.

This internal review – published by Labour’s Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan – concluded that there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

It should be noted Carlow – which is Mr Hogan’s constituency – was named as the ‘the most serious of the cases’ in the review and that if it weren’t for 120 recommendations being implemented following a 2010 review by John Quinlivan, former Carlow Town Clerk and Louth County Manager, an investigation would be required into Carlow County Council, even though it stated not all of the recommendations had been delivered upon, at the time of the review’s investigation.

But what about Donegal?


Gerard Convie, who worked in Donegal County Council as a senior planner for 24 years before he resigned in 2007, provided the review with 20 cases of what he claimed was evidence of irregularities at Donegal County Council.

And, after the review concluded there was no proof of wrongdoing, he went to the High Court alleging that the review was inadequate, ‘deeply disturbing’ and failed to address his complaints.

His action resulted in the High Court quashing the review’s section on Donegal County Council’s planning department; the Department of the Environment apologising to Mr Convie and him being awarded €25,000.

This High Court decision occurred on June 14, 2013.

On foot of it, Ms O’Sullivan announced:

“I am today announcing my intention to appoint independent planning consultants under Section 255 of the Planning and Development Acts to conduct an independent assessment of planning procedures and practices in the six other local authorities that were the subject of the Planning Review Report.”

The current issue of Village magazine – which gives a thorough breakdown of Mr Convie’s complaints – is reporting that the material concerning Donegal and put forward by Mr Convie was sent to the Attorney General Máire Whelan for direction and it’s understood she has now sent this on to the Environment Minister Phil Hogan with the Environment Department expected to release its review before the summer.

Meanwhile, while in Opposition, Mr Hogan did an interview with Tony Lowes, for Village magazine, in which he was asked if he supported Mr Gormley’s planned inquiries into the seven authorities. From that interview:

Tony Lowes: “Do you support the investigations that Mr Gormley set up for certain councils, including Dublin City and Carlow?”

Phil Hogan: “Spuriously mostly.”

Lowes: “If you became Minister would you allow this process to go forward?”

Hogan: “Absolutely – I think it’s very important that we have confidence in the system of public administration at official level and political level – we learned enough in the Mahon Tribunal to know that this is important – but we’re not going to get into the political business of trying to find scapegoats for political purposes which is what ex-Minister Gormley is intending to do. I’m aware of issues that have come before Carlow County Council but on the material that has come out of the investigations to date I don’t see anything.”

Planning Review Report (June 2012)

Phil Hogan interview (Tony Lowes, Village)

Previously: Why Did Phil Hogan Stop Six Separate Planning Inquiries?

Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland



Then Rena Donaghey took herself away.

Donegal County Council’s budget has been passed this evening after the deciding vote fell to martyr Mayor Ian McGarvey. Tied at 14/14, Councillor Rena Donaghey left the meeting without casting her vote leaving it to McGarvey to adopt the County Council’s budget.

Since she’s gone, they can do whatever they want.

Listen here

Highland Radio

Earlier: Meanwhile, In Donegal


A budget meeting of Donegal County Council in Lifford has been adjourned following an argument between Independent Cllr Frank McBrearty and Fianna Fáil Cllr Ciaran Brogan.

The council met for three days and nights and couldn’t reach an agreement over the council’s budget for 2014.

It follows calls by councillors for the transfer of €350m worth of assets from the council to Irish Water to be halted.

Cllr Brogan told the Irish Independent:

“We met as a party at the weekend and we will continue to maintain our stand on behalf of the Donegal public and send a clear message to the management of this Council as well as Minister Phil Hogan that the people of this county have suffered enough and will no longer accept these savage cuts from this Government.

“Minister Hogan rammed through legislation before Christmas where all of the opposition TDs walked out of the Daíl. He and his Government are neither prepared nor willing to listen to a view point other than his own or his party’s which flies in the face of democracy.”

Donegaldaily.com reports:

“The meeting never even got to discuss the budget before it ended in uproar. Cllr Brogan had claimed that one of his party colleagues Cllr David Alcorn had received a threatening email at 4.46am from Cllr McBrearty. Cllr McBrearty then called through Mayor Ian McGarvey for Cllr Brogan to “withdraw these slanderous comments.”

“The independent councillor also asked for the email to be read into the record to “prove” it was not a threatening email. Mayor McGarvey agreed; then withdrew permission on legal advice from Director of Service Liam Ward. Mayor McGarvey was forced to adjourn the meeting amid uproar. But Cllr McBrearty read out his email to Cllr Alcorn anyway as Fine Gael, Labour and independents listened.”


Council meeting adjourned amid uproar over late night emails (Donegal Daily)

Rebel council ‘to fold today’ over Irish Water (Independent.ie)

Previously: Three nights and three days



After a marathon meeting that took place over three days and three nights, with a total of 21 adjournments, a vote was finally held just after midnight last night.”

“The budget was voted down by 15 votes to 12 as Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein and Independent Cllr John Campbell voted against. At this stage everyone present in the chamber believed that was the end of the body.”

“But Cllrs where then made aware by the County Secretary 15 minutes later that in the event of the budget being rejected, then Cllrs can meet again at a later date to try and pass the budget.”

Audio update – Donegal County Council still intact as budget meeting adjourns (Highland Radio)