Objections voiced to Council plans for anti-fraud and corruption laws

Plans to introduce anti-fraud and corruption laws within Donegal County Council have been deferred over concerns that they aren't clear and could incriminate councillors.

Despite an audit in 2009 highlighting the fact that the council hadn't such a policy in place, only now is the local authority seeking to introduce the measures.

When councillors were called on to sanction the policy this week, agreement couldn't be reached and the matter was deferred.

The proposed anti-fraud and corruption policy will cover all local authorities in Donegal and apply to council staff and elected members.

The rules would formally put in place a number of anti-fraud measures - As it relates to staff,  they would have to inform superiors if offered gifts or hospitality or if any outside interests could conflict with their duties.

They would also be expected to inform superiors if they thought there was a misuse of council resources or if they suspected fraud.

The new rules would also govern councillors - they must be seen to act in a way which enhances public trust and confidence, avoid conflicts of interest and never seek to use improper influence.

They will also be expected to treat colleagues and local authority employees with courtesy and respect.

The policy wasn't adopted this week due to objections, most notably from Frank McBrearty Junior.

He wants a number of points clarified - He used the example that if he were to make a representation to council staff on behalf of someone he knew, could that been deemed to be breaking the rules deeming someone as having engaged in fraud or corruption.

Council officials have agreed to take on board concerns and present a revised document at the next council meeting in September.