Mayo County Council and firebrand Castlebar-based Cllr Frank Durcan (pictured) appear to be on a collision course over recent comments from Cllr Durcan that planning in the council is corrupt.
Cllr Durcan made the claim at the January meeting of Mayo County Council and also at the January meeting of the Castlebar Electoral Area but he has been asked by County Secretary John Condon to withdraw the statement and apologise.
However in a letter sent by Cllr Durcan yesterday evening (Monday) to Mr Condon, he stood over his comments and challenged the County Secretary to report him for a breach of conduct.
Cllr Durcan said at the January meetings that a minister of state is on record in the Dáil as saying that Mayo County Council is corrupt when it comes to planning. In a letter dated January 23, Mr Condon informed Cllr Durcan that he examined Dáil debates and was unable to find any such reference. He asked Cllr Durcan to provide the details of these remarks however, the following day, Cllr Durcan wrote back stating he had proof of the claims but would not release them unless the council acceded to a request of his.
“I am not prepared to accede to your request [for the Dáil details] until such time as I am afforded a public platform by Mayo County Council to expose the numerous cases of corruption in relation to planning within Mayo County Council, which I have investigated and hold documentary evidence to confirm what I have already stated,” he wrote.
In response, Mr Condon wrote back on January 25 last stating that it was ‘clear’ that Cllr Durcan’s corruption claim at the January meeting was unfounded. Mr Condon added that Cllr Durcan ‘should now withdraw [his] statement and issue an apology to all concerned’.
However, in replying yesterday, Cllr Durcan said the following: ‘I now wish to confirm same [that Mayo County Council was a corrupt body when dealing with planning matters] and I challenge you to report me to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government under Section 2.3 of the Code of Conduct for Councillors as covered by the Local Government Act, 2001’.
That section reads that ‘councillors should in all matters seek to ensure that their conduct does not bring the integrity of their office or of local government into disrepute’.
Speaking to The Mayo News last night that he has reported this matter to a forum which he wouldn’t name but that he was not for turning on this issue.
“I’m not going to go away on this. I will prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. And what I will prove is no mean form of corruption. It has been reported to a different forum at the minute and I will wait and see what they will do before deciding how to proceed. I have documentary evidence of this scandal in the county. I have evidence of a Dáil record of a minister of state speaking of a planning application in this county which was corrupt,” he said.