SIPO has adjourned to compile report on hearing involving Councillor Hugh McElvaney

The Standards in Public Office Commission has adjourned to compile a report on a hearing involving Councillor Hugh McElvaney.

The hearing related to an undercover RTE investigation featuring three Councillors and an undercover reporter posed as a representative of a foreign firm planning wind farms across the country.

The hearing for Councillor McElvaney first got underway in 2018, and concluded that 12.45 this afternoon.

The Standards in Public Office Commission heard evidence against alleged contraventions of the Local Government Act by the Monaghan Councillor.
Its alleged Councillor McElvaney contravened four parts, these are that he failed to maintain proper conduct as an elected representative, that he was seeking assurances of payment, that he acted against the code of conduct of a councillor and a contravention of his annual declaration for 2014.

Evidence presented on behalf of the Commission comprised of the audio recordings two phone calls to arrange a meeting and video footage of a meeting between the fictitious Nina Carlsson and Councillor McElvaney.
The Commission referred to transcripts from the evidence to identify positions that supported the complaints. Counsel for Mr McElvaney, Breffni Gordon made submissions based of what had been presented by SIPO.
He said his client has up on 45 years on local representation and now finds himself in an unpleasant and embarrassing situation. He argued that because the evidence featured was of a reporter with a false identity, and it took place under false pretences that it was forbidden evidence, referencing cases of Criminal Law.
It was also said that Councillor McElvaney didn’t take a serious interest in the phone calls, and what was discussed was never brought to Monaghan County Council or acted upon.
James Doherty for SIPO argued it evidence was on an “unexceptional” situation, that could have been handled the same way had it been real, with Breffni Gordon saying it was accepted to have been an “exceptional” situation because it was created by RTE.
Chair of the Commission, Justice Daniel O’Keeffe welcomed all submissions and adjourned the hearing to allow for a report to be compiled.