- Aontu councillor Emer Toibin has raised questions over the transparency of Meath County Councils investigation into the controversial rezoning of lands at Liscarton Navan some time ago.
It has emerged that Fianna Fail councillor Tommy Reilly’s family now own land that has soared in value from an alleged purchase price of €400k to €4.2m following it’s rezoning
Meath County Council has confirmed to Meath Live that their internal investigation into the matter has been completed.
It found Councillor Reilly had breached the Ethical Framework related to conflict of interests in the Local Government Act 2001, but did so “inadvertently”.
Meath County Council’s Chief Executive,Jackie Maguire concluded that on the information available to them, no further action was warranted on the matter.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Local Government has been asked why Meath County Council’s investigation was not carried out transparently.
Aontú leader and Local TD Peadar Tóibín has submitted a parliamentary question, saying information about the investigation, including its terms of reference why it wasn’t independently carried out, have not yet been provided.
Fellow Aontú member, Councillor Emer Tóibín has also raised concerns over the level of transparency given by the council on their report.
She told Meath Live, ‘The land was bought in August 2016 for €500,000, re-zoned to light industrial use in July 2017 and planning permission granted in June 2018. The land is now worth millions of euro. It is alleged that within weeks of the sale agreement in 2016, a Fianna Fáil Meath County Councillor was involved in discussions about the re-zoning of lands at Liscarton”.
‘A detailed article has been published in the Village Magazine which alleges that members of the Fianna Fáil Councillor’s family benefitted to the tune of millions of euros as a result of the rezoning of lands outside Navan by the council”.
“Despite this conflict of interest it remains unclear what interaction the Fianna Fáil Cllr had with the council in the rezoning process, did the council ascertain what exactly was the Cllr’s conflict of interest and was the purchase of land by the Cllrs family made as a result of the Cllrs input in the process.
‘According to the consultant Engineers involved in the process the Councillor is down as ‘applicant’ in documents filed with the planning application yet the Council refute this. It is alleged that Council records in May and late July, 2016 indicate that the Councillor attended a meeting of Councillors of the Navan Municipal District at which the re-zoning of lands at Liscarton was discussed”.
‘There is a shocking lack of transparency in this process. Has Meath County Council launched an internal inquiry? What are the terms of reference of this inquiry? Who exactly is being investigated and most importantly by whom?
‘It is Aontú’s view that such investigations should be held independently. Has the inquiry reached its conclusions and have recommendations been issued? The elected representatives ofthe people of Meath should be privy to this process?
‘These allegations are extremely serious and full transparency is called for especially now as we prepare to sit down and vote on the new County Development Plan in two weeks’ time.
‘Aontú Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín will also seek to raise this in the Dáil’.