29 Jun 2022

McBrearty says he is a victim of a 'political witch hunt'

"This is exactly the same style of harassment I received between 1996 to 2005 from An Garda Siochana and garda informants"

McBrearty says he is a victim of a 'political witch hunt'

Cllr Frank McBrearty Jnr

Outspoken independent councillor, Frank McBrearty Jnr has claimed he is the victim of a political witch hunt as part of an attempt to get him removed from office.

As the Raphoe-based representative joined his Donegal County Council colleagues last Thursday at the first in-person meeting of the Lifford-Stranorlar Municipal District since the lifting of Covid restrictions, he alleges he has become a target for exposing systemic corruption in Donegal County Council.

His allegations relate to the handling of the purchase of houses in An Crannla estate in Buncrana by the council and his claims the council knew the houses were affected by mica before going ahead with the purchase.

He adds his efforts to get answers have been blocked by suspension, legal action, allegations and a refusal by the council to supply him with CCTV which they have already given to An Garda Siochana.

He also alleged this witch hunt is politically motivated and goes back to his two previous terms on the council between 2009-2014 and 2014-2019 when he faced two separate garda investigations over alleged false allegations made by two individual councillors.

"This is a political witch hunt. In my opinion, it all goes back to what me and my family exposed in the Morris Tribunal, the political element of that never came out. I now feel today that I am not being treated like a democratically elected member of local government," he says.

He added: "As I raise more and more legitimate questions, I am facing new allegations being made against me on a weekly basis. The anxiety and the stress my family and I are suffering are identical to what we faced when we exposed garda corruption and our time at the Morris Tribunal and criminal and civil courts."

Turning to the current impasse, Cllr McBrearty Jnr said his battle to get to the truth is being blocked by those who fear what he will expose.

He points out the actions taken against him include being suspended from a full council meeting for two hours on October 6 last year before being reinstated; being expelled from the council for one month on January 31 this year, a suspension of his salary for the same length of time and 10% of it reducted for 12 months; a resolution was passed by council members on February 7 to take him to the High Court and seek an injunction against him; the High Court injunction was granted against him on February 17 and costs awarded against him; being placed under investigation following alleged false allegations made at the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) conference in Buncrana on March 23; having to enter an appearance against the county council proceedings in the High Court to defend his name and placed under investigation again in relation to alleged false allegations made before the start of a council meeting at the Aura Leisure Centre, Letterkenny on March 28.

He is also under investigation by the Ethics Registrar following five separate complaints against him, four by members of the public and one from a fellow councillor in December 2021 and March 2022.

Cllr McBrearty claims this harassment continued on Tuesday when a garda sergeant from Lifford Garda Station invited him to make a statement on the allegations made by council cathaoirleach, Sinn Féin's Cllr Jack Murray that he assaulted him on December 13, 2021, at approximately 1.05pm

"This is a culmination of what they are doing to me for exposing systemic corruption in Donegal County Council. I have invited the Garda Siochana in all three investigations to arrest me if they have the power of arrest and to charge me on the false allegations being made by Sinn Féin members of Donegal County Council and any other false statements made to date.

"I have requested the CCTV footage on two occasions and the second was in a Freedom of Information (FOI) which have both been refused by the council. The garda sergeant confirmed they have received the CCTV footage from the council."

"This is exactly the same style of harassment I received between 1996 to 2005 from An Garda Siochana and garda informants. These allegations were all proven to be false. In due course, I will defend and prove these latest allegations in the criminal and civil courts are false as I did previously in the battle for justice against the Irish State."

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