January 6, 2016

JOhn O'Donnell RTEA DISTRICT Judge has warned controversial politician John O’Donnell to appear in court next month or face arrest over a long-running failure to pay compensation to a woman injured on a building site.

Petra Kucklick, a German native from Mill Cottage, Rooskey, Creeslough, appeared before Letterkenny District Civil Court today to press her claim against Cllr O’Donnell.

The politician was at the centre of a scandal last month when he appeared on an RTE Investigates programme in which he appeared to ask for cash for political favours. He has denied the allegations.

Ms Kucklick’s barrister Laura O’Reilly, representing the Legal Aid Board, said Ms Kucklick had been awarded personal injury compensation in 2008 and Mr O’Donnell had failed to pay any of the award.

The 2008 judgement related to an incident in 2000 in which Mr O’Donnell had driven over the foot of Ms Kucklick at a building site in the county.

Ms O’Reilly told District Judge Paul Kelly that there was now €33,000 in arrears and Mr O’Donnell, on 1 Larganreagh, Downings, had failed to make any payments despite several previous court appearances.

She said the case had been adjourned in 2014 with liberty to re-enter and Ms Kucklick was now pursuing the case again.

O’Donnell’s solicitor Kevin McElhinney said his client had only received papers in the case before Christmas. He had provided a statement of means in November 2014 and wasn’t in a position to pay anything to Ms Kucklick.

However Ms O’Reilly said O’Donnell had consistently failed to comply with an instalment order and had failed to provide details of his Northern Ireland bank accounts.

She said euro bank accounts provided to her client had shown that Mr O’Donnell was collecting substantial rents on properties.

Mr McElhinney said the assets referred to in previous correspondence had debts over them, with one property worth €130,000 with a debt of €180,000.

However Ms O’Reilly said Mr O’Donnell’s bank statements showed rents coming in and no mortgages on the properties going out. She asked the judge to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.

District Judge Paul Kelly was told that Mr O’Donnell wasn’t in court today as he was out of the country.

The judge ordered that O’Donnell provide answers to all questions raised in court today by Ms O’Reilly.

He adjourned the case peremptory against Mr O’Donnell until February 3.

The judge told Mr McElhinney: “Explain to Mr O’donnell if he is not in court the next time, I will issue a warrant for his arrest.”