Environment Minister tells Mayor to hold meeting

Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan TD
The Environment Minister has written to the County Mayor advising him to hold a formal meeting of Longford County Council to discuss the issue of the proposed acquisition of a house owned by County Manager Tim Caffrey using funds provided by the State.

The Environment Minister has written to the County Mayor advising him to hold a formal meeting of Longford County Council to discuss the issue of the proposed acquisition of a house owned by County Manager Tim Caffrey using funds provided by the State.

Around 15 of the county’s elected members attended the hastily-arranged confidential discussion (on Monday, October 21) in which the council decided to pass the matter on to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo).

Following that decision, Mr Hogan sent correspondence to Cllr Larry Bannon, pointing out the need for a full council meeting to be called.

The letter, obtained by the Leader his week, was sent to Cllr Bannon while he was overseas attending a community flower show in Canada.

“I’m sure you will agree that it is critical, both in terms of the integrity of the local government system generally and in the interests of the parties involved, that an issue of this kind is addressed fully and as quickly as possible,” Mr Hogan said.

Followiong last Monday’s unscheduled council meeting to discuss the isue Mr Hogan said the matter needs to be addressed by all councillors at a fully convened meeting.

“While I understand the matter was considered at an informal meeting of some Councillors, I would be grateful for your early confirmation that the matter is to be the subject of formal consideration and follow up, as appropriate, by the elected Council,” he said.

The Environment Minister said that it was up to elected representatives of the countil to decide what action needed to be taken.

“Given the provisions of the ethics framework for the local government system... it is for the elected members of Longford County Council, in the first instance, to consider the particular matter in question and to decide what, if any, action may be required.”

Cllr Bannon said he would hold further talks with his fellow councillors before deciding if, and when, a meeting needs to be called.