SIPO finds against Councillor Hugh McElvaney after appearance in undercover investigation

The Standards in Public Office Commission has found against Monaghan Councillor Hugh McElvaney on all four contraventions alleged against him.

It launched an investigation after he featured in a television undercover investigation in 2015.

In an RTÉ investigation in late 2015, Councillor Hugh McElvaney was among a number of local authority members featured.

He was shown engaging with an undercover reporter, purporting to be a representative of a fictitious company planning to develop a windfarm in County Monaghan.

Councillor Hugh McElvaney has always denied any wrongdoing in the case, claiming he knew he was being filmed and played along with the undercover reporter.

Despite this, SIPO has found against him on all four contraventions alleged against him.

This includes the failure to accurately fill out his declaration of interests as set out by the legislation by omitting a directorship and interest in a number of properties.

In its report published this afternoon it says he breached four sections of the Local Government Act by offering assistance in return for financial reward.

In its findings SIPO says “it was Councillor McElvaney who initiated the discussion of payment for the provision of assistance with the planning process” and he “pressed for clarification in relation to potential payment for his assistance” by suggesting “ten grand would be start” but “the more that’s in the bag, the keener I would be”.

Legal representation for Councillor McElvaney had said he was anxious to encourage investment in Co Monaghan and would have disclosed the conflict if the development had gone ahead.

SIPO says that in accordance with legislation copies of its report have been sent to Councillor McElvaney, the Cathaoirleach and Chief Executive of Monaghan County Council and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

You can read the report here.