A special meeting of Donegal County Council has passed a motion calling for the resignation of embattled fellow councillor John O’Donnell.
The Independent politician is fighting to save his political career after last Tuesday’s RTÉ Investigates programme.
The programme alleged that the Kilmacrennan councillor asked for payment in return for helping out a fictitious windfarm company set up in Donegal.
Despite being filmed asking for a payment to be made to a third party, the 34-year-old politician claims he was “entrapped” by the national broadcaster.
He said his only interest in meeting the bogus windfarm company was to secure investment and jobs for Donegal.
A large group of protesters with posters calling for Mr O’Donnell’s resignation gathered within the council chamber for the meeting, which lasted almost three hours.
One fellow councillor, Independent Frank McBrearty, has already initiated legal proceedings against Mr O’Donnell, ordering him to say he was not one of 25 to 30 councillors whom he could count on for support.
Former chairman of Donegal County Council and Independent Councillor John Campbell proposed a motion that Mr O’Donnell resigns from the council until procedures under Part 15 of the Local Government Act of 2001 are exhausted.
The Fine Gael members of the council supported this motion as did some Independent, Labour, and Sinn Féin members.
Fianna Fáil said that they are against all corruption and that Mr O’Donnell’s position is untenable.
There were heated scenes at times as some councillors said it was simply impossible for them to work with Mr O’Donnell going forward.
One councillor, who asked not to be named, said councillors did not have the power to force Mr O’Donnell to resign.
He said that was a matter for the ethics registrar.
A statement issued earlier by Donegal County Council said the matters raised in the programme are being examined by the ethics registrar as an issue of urgency and priority.
“The examination will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Part 15 of the Local Government Act, 2001, Ethical Framework for the Local Government Service, and the Code of Conduct for Councillors, and any matters arising from this examination will be processed in line with the provisions as set down,” said the council. “Pending the conclusion of this examination, the council will not be making any further statements at this time.”
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