Green councillor gets leave to try to quash report

Mary Carolan has one of those stories in the Irish Times today that make the news, but don’t quite make the headlines. These type stories are usually symptomatic of something happening throughout the country, but are either not reported or reported very little.

A Green Party councillor has brought a High Court challenge aimed at overturning a report which found that Wicklow Fianna Fail councillor and solicitor Fachtna Whittle had not breached ethics legislation in proposing and voting for a quarry rezoning without disclosing he was acting for the quarry owner in legal proceedings.

The action has been brought by councillor Deirdre de Burca against the Wicklow county manager and the chairperson of Wicklow County Council, with Mr Whittle as notice party.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill yesterday granted leave to senior counsel Gerard Hogan, for Ms de Burca, to bring proceedings to quash the findings of the report following a formal complaint to the ethics registrar about Mr Whittle’s conduct during a Wicklow County Council meeting on July 12th, 2004.

This certainly isn’t the most serious case I have heard of, but it certainly indicates that this kind of behaviour is considered perfectly acceptable to many.