Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking this morning at the party’s Local Government Manifesto launch, pledged that successful Sinn Féin Councillors will “expose corruption and root it out of public life once and for all; will rigorously pursue evidence of corruption, whether by council members or officials, and will also advocate on behalf of whistle-blowers who may come forward to defend the public interest.”
Teachta Adams was accompanied at the Press Conference by Mayo Councillor Rose Conway Walsh; South Dublin Councillor Cahal King and Dublin City Councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh.
Gerry Adams said:
“Planning is one area of public life where corruption and malpractice have flourished for decades. The Mahon Tribunal found that planning corruption had become entrenched and widespread in this state ‘because no one has been prepared to stop it’. Governments involving Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour oversaw this corruption.
“None of the Mahon recommendations have been implemented.
“In 2010 the then Minister for the Environment John Gormley announced an independent investigation into seven councils - all but one of which were Fine Gael or Labour controlled.
“The new Minister, Phil Hogan terminated this review and set up a new internal one. The initial report of this process, presided over by Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan, claimed there was no evidence of wrongdoing, and sought to discredit the whistleblower Gerard Convie.
“In the High Court the Department of the Environment was forced to apologise to Mr Convie and pay his costs and damages. We await the results of the replacement independent consultants’ report arising from the High Court action, which Minister of State O’Sullivan says will be released in July.
“We know too that she is considering advice recently received from the Attorney General with respect to Mr. Convie’s allegations.
“Mr Convie, in the meantime and despite the High Court settlement, has yet to receive a full public apology from the Minister and vindication of his concerns by this Government.
“Sinn Féin is putting this Government on notice: Sinn Féin will expose corruption and root it out of public life once and for all.
“Our pledge is that Sinn Féin Councillors, right across this state, will exercise vigilance and will rigorously pursue evidence of corruption, whether by council members or officials.
“Sinn Féin will also advocate on behalf of whistle-blowers who may come forward to defend the public interest.”