“Disappointed” and “let down” - two of the terms used by Cllr PJ Reilly this week to describe how he felt about the proposed €250,000 State funded acquisition of county manager Tim Caffrey’s house for people with intellectual disabilities.
The terms of that deal broke down when approved housing body, The Muiriosa Foundation said it could not proceed due to a change in family circumstances of one of its intended clients.
Mr Caffrey has rigorously defended his own role in the supposed purchase, both at a snap “information meeting” of the Council last Monday and in a statement issued the following day.
He insisted there was never any question over a conflict of interest as he had declared his ownership of the house as soon as the Council received Muiriosa’s application under the State’s Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS).
When contacted by the Longford Leader in the past week most, if not all of the Council’s 21 elected representatives, have either kept their counsel or simply declined to comment.
The vast bulk said they want to see what comes out of any Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) inquiry after councillors referred the matter onto the watchdog last week.
“Like my fellow councillors and the general public, I will await the outcome,” said Cllr Peggy Nolan, claiming the revelations in recent days had been “extremely distressing” for all concerned.
Fianna Fáil’s Denis Glennon followed a similar line, stressing he was not in the business of “second guessing” and would only deal with the facts of the case.
But perhaps the most outspoken of all was Cllr Glennon’s party colleague, Cllr PJ Reilly.
He said he appreciated Mr Caffrey’s speedy response to the proposed house purchase episode, but admitted the negative publicity had done little for the county’s image.
“It’s not a very positive story,” he said.
Meanwhile Cllr Mae Sexton
said: “Having originally raised very specific questions I feel that the statements issued by both the council executive and Muiriosa are at such variance as to raise even further questions.”