Senator Landy snubs Seanad inquiry

I was delighted that the Sunday Times reported on my continuing efforts to bring Labour senator Denis Landy to account over his refusal to act on bribery allegations he made in July of last year.

Here’s the article in full. I’ll be coming back later with more comment.

By Mark Tighe

A Labour senator who claimed he was offered a bribe to miss a vote has refused to co-operate with a Seanad inquiry into the matter.

Last July, Denis Landy, a Tipperary based senator, told the Sunday Independent he had been offered flights and three night’s accommodation in New York if he missed a vote, and that the offer was made “in seriousness rather than jest.”

The senator said he turned down the offer, which he believed was an effort to defeat the Government on the abolition of the Seanad.

Landy has refused to elaborate on the identity of the ‘shadowy political figure’ who made the offer.

Anthony Sheridan, who runs the blog, subsequently made a comlaint to the Gardai and the Seanad Committee on Members’ Interests about the bribe claim.

He complained Landy had failed to report the incident to the authorites or reveal who allegedly offered the bribe.

The Seanad Committee sent Mr. Sheridan the results of the investigation last month.

Deirdre Clune, the Fine Gael chair of the Committtee, said it had written to Landy last November and he responded on January 15 through a firm of solicitors asking for documentation about the complaint.

The Committee then asked Landy to attend but his solicitor replied that he did not wish to. After taking legal advice the Comittee decided to discontinue its investigation. It noted a complaint had also been filed with the Gardai.

Clune’s letter to Sheridan asked him to be aware of Section 35 of the Ethics in Public Office Act, which says disclosing information obtained under the Act is an offence.

I interpret this as a not very subtle warning to me to make sure the Committee’s findings are not passed on to the media.” Sheridan said.

“Senator Landy’s refusal to co-operate with the Committee is contemptible. In a functional democracy he would be answering questions in a court of law.”

He said it was “risible” that the Committee could conclude “without any apparent embarrassment, that it does not have the power to investigate an alleged breach of its code by one of its members.

He said the Labour Party’s response to the incident was astonishing.

The party has previously said the incident is a matter for the senator himself. Last week its spokesman did not return calls. Landy said he had “no comment.”

After he made the bribe claim, four senators called on Landy to explain himself.

David Norris told the Seanad he wanted the truth.

The corruption must be exposed and if it was the last thing the House did, it would be a service to the people of Ireland,” the independent senator said.

Maurice Cummins, the Fine Gael leader in the Seanad, also called for Landy to report the matter to the Gardai.

I hope this matter, if not already reported, will be reported immediately by senator Landy.”

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