A massive row erupted in Donegal council when a councillor accused officials of providing a lack of information.

The controversy was sparked amid concerns raised by Independent Cllr Dessie Shiels about the robustness of ethics procedures at the council when it is buying land for projects like housebuilding.

The row, which dates back to last summer, ignited on Tuesday past in the council chambers of Letterkenny Municipal District’s monthly meeting.

Independent Cllr Shiels claimed that he was told that an employee of the council or an elected member of the council were involved in talks to sell land to the council for houses to be built in Letterkenny - and he asked the council for details.

The councillor claimed that such a situation raises concerns, arguing that the public should be confident that, if they were applying to sell land to the council, that they would not be in competition with a councillor or a council worker whose similar applications were being assessed by colleagues within the council.

Cllr Dessie Shiels

Cllr Shiels asked in a motion, which was seconded by Fianna Fail Cllr Liam Blaney: “That this council confirm, unequivocally, whether in the last 18 calendar months, any proposal [has] been made to sell development last to this council for social housing, where such development land was owned, either legally or beneficially, by (a) an employee of this council or (b) an elected member of this council, and that this council make a full and detailed statement on the matter.”

He was furious with the “wishy-washy” response that he received and accused the council of fudging its reply and further claimed there “is a conflict of interest here”.

The full story appears tomorrow, Thursday, in Donegal Now's sister publication the Letterkeny Post newspaper.

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