The Irish Independent, Maeve Sheehan
The Garda fraud squad has launched a full investigation into allegations made in an RTE undercover sting operation that showed two county councillors allegedly asking for money to help a wind farm operator.
The investigation has been under way for a number of months and is understood to be at an advanced stage. The Garda fraud bureau decided to proceed with an investigation after assessing the RTE footage to see whether the allegations they contained merited a full-scale inquiry. Sources confirmed that the case has now proceeded to the next level.
Detectives have been viewing footage of the programme and a number of people have been interviewed. The programme by the RTE Investigates team, broadcast last year, generated huge public debate over standards in public office. The programme featured a journalist posing as a wind farm investor who spoke to three local councillors.
The three politicians appeared to offer to lobby on behalf of a wind farm company – two of them allegedly in exchange for money. One councillor, John O’Donnell, was filmed requesting that the money be routed through a third party. “Politically there would be a backlash,” he said on the programme. Read article