Chief executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, responded to a query from Sinn Féin councillor Rose Conway-Walsh about claims made of planning irregularities in an unnamed county in the Sunday Independent last week. Mr Hynes responded to the councillors query saying: “I am aware of the coverage in a national newspaper at the weekend. You will be aware that no county was named in that and it appears that it might refer to Mayo, but as of now, we have had no communication from any agency or authority. If we are communicated with, as always we will co-operate fully with any investigation that takes place to its conclusion.” He concluded by saying that he couldn’t comment any further.
The Sunday Independent report, which did not name the county involved, said that a county councillor was approached by a Fine Gael councillor who said that he would be able to help the first councillor get planning permission for a project on site he owned, if he ceased his inquiries into the appointment of a certain individual to a job in the local authority. The report also said that the Fine Gael councillor suggested that the first councillor put the land into someone else’s name so suspicions would not be raised during the planning process. It was also reported that the Fine Gael councillor said that senior officials in the council would support the planning application if the first councillor stopped the investigation. The councillor whom the offer was made to recorded the conversations and, because he felt that a bribe was being offered, handed the conversations into the Garda Bureau of Fraud the week before, according to the report.