Meath West TD and Junior enterprise minister Damien English has denied any wrongdoing over his failure to declare, for the last decade, his former home as a property interest.
TDs and ministers are required under ethics legislation to declare their property interests annually. Failure to do so can lead to a SIPO investigation.
Last night online website ontheditch.com revealed Damien English bought a bungalow, at Castlemartin, near Martry, with an Ulster Bank mortgage in 2004, according to Land Registry records.
It claimed that the Fine Gael TD lived in the property until 2010 when he moved to a new larger home in Cookstown, between Kells and Athboy.
He kept his old home and as it is no longer his primary residence, English has been required under ethics legislation to declare ownership of it since 2011.
He hasn’t done so for more than ten years.
Junior enterprise minister English didn’t put his affairs in order even after last year’s resignation of his departmental colleague Robert Troy for failing to declare his property interests. The Troy scandal forced a number of TDs and senators to submit supplementary declarations of interest acknowledging previously undeclared properties.
However English has now broken his silence on the situation and told Meath Live, through a spokesperson, ‘ The SIPO Guidelines on compliance with the provisions of the Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995 and 2001 for Office Holders are clear on the matter.
‘Page 28 of the Guidelines state: “An office holder is not required under this heading to disclose information regarding his or her private home or that of a spouse or civil partner and any subsidiary or ancillary land to such home that is not being used or developed primarily for commercial purposes.
‘Also excluded is a holiday home and any other private home used by an office holder or his or her family and any land that is subsidiary or ancillary to it which is required for its amenity or convenience and is not being used or developed primarily for commercial purposes.”
‘As per this guidance from SIPO, the property was not included on the declaration form as it is solely for use by him and his family.
‘The Minister has nothing further to add on the matter.’