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 has found himself fighting to save his political career after an RTE Investigates Programme earlier this week.
The programme alleged that the Kilmacrennan councillor asked for payment in return for helping out a fictitious wind farm 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 ever interest in meeting the bogus wind farm company was to secure investment and jobs for Donegal.
A large group of protesters with posters calling for Cllr O’Donnell’s resignation gathered within the council chamber for the meeting which lasted almost three hours.
Councillors passed a motion from Cllr John Campbell for O’Donnell to resign just after 7.20pm. Cllr Michael McBride also called for O’Donnell to be removed from committees while an investigation continues.
During last night’s meeting the councillors were all given an opportunity to
voice their views on the RTE programme.
Independent councillor Michael McBride spoke as a member of the independent grouping and called for three things :
*That councillor John O’Donnell stand down from the independent grouping
* That he relinquish all posts he holds in the Council
* And that he addresses the council in person.
A motion proposed by John Campbell and seconded by Micheal Choilm mac Giolla Easpuig that O’Donnell resign while internal investigations are ongoing was carried unanimously by councillors without going to a vote.
They also backed a motion from Cllr Mick Quinn for a voluntary ethics registration.
One fellow councillor, Independent Frank McBrearty, has already initiated legal proceedings against Cllr O’Donnell ordering him to come out and say that he was not one of a number of between 25 and 30 councillors whom he could count on their support.
There were stormy scenes at times during the meeting.
Former chairman of Donegal County Council and Independent Councillor John Campbell had proposed that Cllr 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 Independents, as well as Labour and Sinn Fein.
Fianna Fáil said that they are against all corruption and that Cllr O’Donnell’s position is untenable.
There were hated scenes at times as some councillors said it was simply impossible for them to work with Cllr O’Donnell going forward.
One councillor, who asked not to be named, said councillors did not have the power to force Councillor 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 as an issue of urgency and priority.
“This examination is being conducted in the first instance by the Ethics Registrar in the Council.
“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.
“Pending the conclusion of this examination, the Council will not be making any further statements at this time.”Tags: