Review of Councillors’ foreign trips for possible breach of ethics

Two Monaghan Councillors who travelled abroad this summer are under review to see if there was a breach of ethics.

In August it was revealed that Councillors Paudge Connolly and Cathy Bennett left the country despite public health guidelines asking people to stay at home.

At the September meeting of Monaghan County Council, both apologised for their actions and said they’d co-operate with any investigations.

The two Monaghan MD representatives came under fire for travelling outside of the country this summer.

Paudge Connolly had visited Spain for a golfing tournament and then attended the Oireachtas golfing dinner less than two weeks after his return.

Cathy Bennett took a family holiday to Lanzarote, and lost the Sinn Féin party whip as a result.

Both made apologies for their behaviour at the first meeting back of the local authority and said they’d work with any follow-up investigations.

Monaghan County Council has confirmed to Northern Sound News that the matter is currently being reviewed by the council’s Ethics Registrar under Section 174 of the Local Government Act 2001.

Meanwhile, the Standards in Public Office said it can’t comment on individual compliance matters other than to say it hasn’t received a complaint in relation to either councillor.

It added however that any local government representative must first have the matter examined by the ethics registrar if there is a complaint, and only if the results have been unsatisfactory and all other avenues have been exhausted that it is brought before SIPO.