‘Is­sue of costs due to de­lay was mat­ter of pub­lic in­ter­est’

Bray People - - NEWS -

DUR­ING court pro­ceed­ings County Man­ager, Ed­die Sheehy, said he re­leased a press state­ment within three hours of the pub­li­ca­tion of a re­port into Wick­low Coun­cil’s ac­qui­si­tion of the three­acre site near Charles­land.

Hav­ing spent most of Wed­nes­day and part of Thurs­day morn­ing in the wit­ness box, Mr. Sheehy main­tained that in­for­ma­tion con­tained in the press re­lease was a mat­ter of pub­lic in­ter­est.

He also felt it was im­por­tant to let the pub­lic know that Wick­low County Coun­cil had been ex­on­er­ated in the re­port, with Se­nior Coun­sel Séamus Woulfe, who car­ried out the re­view, find­ing that ‘nearly all’ of the coun­cil­lors' con­cerns were ‘not well­founded or are mis­con­ceived.’

‘The is­sue of costs due to the de­lay was a mat­ter of pub­lic in­ter­est. I made it clear that the coun­cil’s additional costs were €200,000,’ stated Mr. Sheehy while un­der cross-ex­am­i­na­tion.

He also felt con­cerns raised by Coun­cil­lors Cullen and Nevin re­gard­ing al­le­ga­tions that an un­named mem­ber of Wick­low County Coun­cil staff had acted wrongly dur­ing the build-up to the land deal had been dam­ag­ing to the lo­cal author­ity.

‘Of all the al­le­ga­tions made, that was the most se­ri­ous,’ said Mr. Sheehy.

‘It sug­gested im­pro­pri­ety by some Wick­low County Coun­cil mem­ber of staff. It im­plied very se­ri­ous wrong­do­ing. Mr. Woulfe came to the con­clu­sion that these al­le­ga­tions were un­fair to the staff. I felt it was im­por­tant to in­clude that in the press re­lease.’

Dur­ing cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, Colm P Condon, SC for the coun­cil­lors, asked the County Man­ager, ‘are you say­ing that the con­cerns raised weren’t gen­uine?’

Mr. Sheehy replied, ‘I am say­ing I don’t be­lieve they were gen­uine.’

Asked why he hadn’t re­leased a state­ment af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of Woulfe 1, the County Man­ager said, ‘Woulfe 1 was an ex­am­i­na­tion of the Depart­ment and I didn’t think it was ap­pro­pri­ate for me to com­ment.’

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