Donegal County Council has sent a file to the Standards In Public Office concerning the behaviour of Cllr John O’Donnell.
Cllr O’Donnell was filmed by an RTE Investigates Programme allegedly asking for money to help a bogus wind farm operator set up in Co Donegal.
Cllr O’Donnell has always denied the claims and has commenced legal proceedings against RTE.
A spokesperson for Donegal County Council has now confirmed that a file on Cllr O’Donnell has been referred to the Standards In Public Office.
The contents of the file have not been disclosed.
The Garda fraud squad has also has launched a full investigation into the allegations.
The programme showed two county councillors allegedly asking for money to help a wind farm operator.
The Garda fraud bureau decided to proceed with an investigation after assessing the RTE footage to see whether the allegations they contained merited a full-scale inquiry.
Detectives have been viewing footage of the programme and a number of people have been interviewed.
The programme by the RTE Investigates team, broadcast last year, generated huge public debate over standards in public office. The programme featured a journalist posing as a wind farm investor who spoke to three local councillors.
The three politicians appeared to offer to lobby on behalf of a wind farm company – two of them allegedly in exchange for money.
Kilmacrennan councillor O’Donnell, was filmed allegedly requesting that the money be routed through a third party. “Politically there would be a backlash,” he said on the programme.
Cllr O’Donnell has also consistently denied any wrongdoing.
In a statement after the broadcast, he accused RTE of “entrapping” him during the investigation and said he was seeking legal advice on what he called the “sting operation”.
At the time, RTE said it was very careful to act with integrity at all times during the filming.
A statement said “The RTÉ Investigations Unit was very careful to act with integrity at all times in the production of this programme. RTÉ’s legal affairs department has scrutinised the conversations carefully and, both legally and editorially, RTÉ is entirely satisfied that we acted appropriately and in the public interest.
“This programme performs an important public service to the people of Donegal and the people of Ireland in revealing the conflicts of interest that Councillor O’Donnell and others are willing to entertain in the performance of their public duties.”Tags: