05/08/2021

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Solicitor's letter issued after Council meeting

Legal proceedings threatened over Council purchase of Buncrana mica houses

McBrearty warns minister legal challenges may follow if mica redress issues not clarified

Legal proceedings threatened over Council purchase of Buncrana mica houses - Cllr McBrearty

A heated meeting of Donegal County Council may result in a sitting councillor issuing legal proceedings against the outgoing Cathaoirleach.

Solicitors acting on behalf of Independent Councillor Frank McBrearty sent a solicitor's letter to Donegal Cathaoirleach, Cllr Rena Donaghey last week, regarding the conduct of a Donegal County Council meeting on Monday, June 14.

On that occasion, Cllr McBrearty proposed an emergency motion regarding the Council's purchase of five mica-affected dwellings in Inishowen as social housing. The motion was seconded by Cllr Michéal Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig (Independent).
At the conclusion of the almost seven hour long meeting, Cllr McBrearty's motion remained unconsidered.

Commenting on the motion, John McLaughlin, Donegal County Council's CEO, recommended Council seek legal advice on the matter.

Speaking to Donegal Live following the contentious meeting, Cllr McBrearty said he was going to send a solicitor's letter to Donegal County Council's Cathaoirleach and Chief Executive, as a result of the way his emergency motion had been handled.
This paper has received a copy of the letter, which Cllr McBrearty's legal team, Gallagher and Brennan Solicitors issued to Cllr Donaghey.

It states: “Our above-named client [Cllr Frank McBrearty] has instructed us to write to you in relation to the non-compliance and adherence by you as Mayor of Donegal County Council with the rules/orders of such meeting in that you did not allow our client to proceed with his proposal that standing orders be suspended to allow the members to debate the purchase of five (5) mica infected [houses] in An Crannla estate Buncrana by the council, at a cost of €600K, when a proper and actual value is between €5K and €15K.

“We are instructed that as no counter proposal was put forward then our client's motion should have proceeded. Instead, our client advises that on the suggestion of John McLaughlin that legal advice should be sought on the proposed motion of our client Cllr Frank McBrearty.

“Given the urgency and seriousness of the matter and the concerns that our client has in relation to same, we ask that you confirm that our client motion will be allowed to proceed in accordance with the rules on the next occasion.

“Our client reserves his right to such other legal course if this is not forthcoming within 10 days of today's date.”

In an email sent to Cllr McBrearty yesterday (Monday) afternoon Cllr Donaghey acknowledged his email of June 3, requesting her to call a special meeting to discuss the purchase of five houses in Buncrana.

Cllr Donaghey added: “As I mentioned at the adjourned Council meeting on June 14, I believe that it was appropriate that this first be discussed by the local Municipal District Committee.

“As it turns out you brought an emergency motion to the adjourned Council meeting on the matter and the executive indicated that it was obtaining legal advice.

“When the legal advice is obtained, a decision can be made on how the motion can be dealt with.”

Responding to Cllr Donaghey, Cllr McBrearty said the Council should not have bought the Mica-affected homes.

He added: “The purchase of these homes is a full members of Council issue and not just Inishowen Municipal District.

“The Inishowen Municipal District should have rejected the lease and purchase of these homes, when the Council brought this issue to your Municipal District for purchase, which then came to full Council to be noted / signed off on.”

Cathaoirleach Cllr Rena Donaghey

 

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