Donegal County Council is meeting in special session to discuss the SIPO report last month which found Cllr John O’Donnell had contravened ethics and local government legislation.
The meeting opened with Cathaoirleach Seamus O’Domhnaill reading a letter from the council’s solicitors into the record outlining the options open to the members.
The letter noted there is no provision for the council to suspend or remove Cllr O’Donnell, and legally, there are no grounds for automatic disqualification from membership as a result of such an adverse finding SIPO.
The only ground there could be for removal, the letter notes, is where the person has been convicted of an offense.
In this context, the legal advice notes that SIPO could have furnished a report to the DPP, but did not do so, from which it may be deduced that SIPO took the view that none of the contraventions constituted an offence.
Cllr Frank Mc Brearty proposed that Cllr O’Donnell be formally censured, and that the council demand a written apology to each member and council official. He also sought Cllr O’Donnell’s removal from any committees he sits on.
Cllr Marie Therese Gallagher seconded the proposal to censure. A vote will be taken later.