Sligo County Council passes motion of censure in Cllr Joe Queenan

A Sligo councillor says he believes there was an onus on him to bring a motion of censure disapproving of the actions of one of his colleagues on the county council.,

Yesterday afternoon, councillors agreed to the motion of censure in respect of Councillor Joe Queenan following a report from the Standards in Public Office Commission.

The Standards in Public Office Commission carried out its investigation after the appearance in December 2015 of three councillors on an RTE investigative programme

The three councillors — from Sligo, Donegal and Monaghan — were secretly filmed while being interviewed by a woman purporting to represent a foreign investment company developing a wind farm.

In the subsequent SIPO investigation, West Sligo Councillor Joe Queenan was found to have breached a number of ethics guidelines but also that he did NOT seek money from anyone for his work as a councillor.

One related to submitting a blank ethics declaration form which, he has said, was ‘inadvertent’ and done ‘by mistake.’

The former Fianna Fail councillor who is now running as an Independent candidate, also previously said in a statement that he did not agree with two other findings in the SIPO report.

At a meeting of Sligo County Council yesterday — the last before the coming elections — Sinn Fein Councillor Chris MacManus proposed that the findings of the SIPO report be accepted.

He also proposed that the council record a motion of censure of Cllr Queenan who, the motion stated, had brought the local authority into disrepute.

Independent Councillor Declan Bree seconded the motion.

At yesterday’s council meeting, Cllr Queenan said he wasn’t going to discuss the television interview, which he described as ‘a sting’, three years after it happened.

But he said he had been acting in the interests of Sligo, with the hope of bringing jobs to the county.

He apologised to the council for any negative impact caused.

He then left the council chamber to allow councillors discussed the motion.

There then followed a short adjournment during which councillors discussed the matter among themselves.

On resuming, councillors agreed to Cllr MacManus’s motion, with one dissension, by another West Sligo councillor, Independent Michael Clarke.

Afterward, Cllr MacManus explained why he proposed the motion but he accepted its affect was minimal.