A Donegal County Councillor has said that he was left with no choice but to walk out of today's Letterkenny Municipal District meeting.

When Councillor Dessie Shiels became aware that Councillor John O'Donnell was also in attendance at the meeting, which began at 2pm, he promptly withdrew each of his motions and walked out.

"In the aftermath of the RTE investigates programme which aired on RTE in November past, I personally cannot involve myself in County Council meetings, whether at Municipal District Level or at full Plenary Council level in the presence of Councillor O’Donnell," Cllr Shiels said. "To do so would, to my mind, compromise everything that I have tried to do to date since being elected to Donegal County Council to restore public confidence in politics in Donegal.

"Since the airing of the RTE Investigates programme, there has been widespread disbelief in Donegal that there is no statutory mechanism to even suspend Councillor O’Donnell or anyone else when these type of issues arise. Going beyond that, the electorate cannot have any say in the matter until a future election is held for the County Council which not planned until 2019. That leaves it that in the meantime, only Cllr O’Donnell can remove himself by resigning."

John O'Donnell

Councillor Shiels is of the firm opinion that Cllr O'Donnell should resign, particularly since he suggested on the RTE programme that he could influence 25-30 unidentified councillors. Several County Councillors have publicly refuted this statement from John O'Donnell.

"I won’t allow Councillor O’Donnell to make those kind of statements which are damaging to my good name and others and not take a principled stand on the matter," said Cllr Shiels. "Having witnessed the RTE Investigates Programme, I cannot do business or associate in a Council chamber with Councillor O’Donnell, it’s a simple as that.

"The abject failure of successive national governments not to properly legislate to provide for situations where these issues arise has failed Local Government and the electorate. Those parties of Government have a lot to answer for in that regard."

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