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Councillor resigns from Fianna Fáil following 'shocking' RTÉ Investigates programme

“Some of the behaviour displayed in tonight’s programme was shocking and completely unacceptable.”

Joe Queenan
Joe Queenan
Image: Screengrab/RTÉ

COUNCILLOR JOE QUEENAN has resigned from Fianna Fáil following revelations in an RTÉ Investigates documentary.

The programme alleged a host of wrongdoing among politicians flouting rules about the non-disclosure of business interests.

It also featured undercover footage of a journalist posing as a wind farm investor seeking help from three politicians. It showed the councillors agreeing to help in return for money or, in Queenan’s case, a possible loan in the future.

Undercover segments of the programme featured a fake investment company called Vinst Opportunities. A reporter named ‘Nina’ met with three councillors seeking support in gaining sites for wind energy production in Ireland.

Queenan, a councillor in Sligo, is filmed suggesting to ‘Nina’ that he is considering setting up an agri-feed business and may be seeking investment in the future.

“An investment of say €200,000 max, I’ll repay it over a number of years,” he tells the reporter.

‘Shocking and completely unacceptable’

A statement from Queenan’s solicitors told the programme that he “was not corrupt and that he had repeatedly said he did not want a fee”.

In a statement issued just after the programme ended, Fianna Fáil said it had accepted Queenan’s resignation.

“Some of the behaviour displayed in tonight’s programme was shocking and completely unacceptable. The instances where there appear to be clear breaches of the law need to be fully investigated by the gardaí and prosecutions brought where appropriate.

Separately, in respect of any allegations that were made against current members of Fianna Fáil, the party will immediately commence an internal inquiry under the auspices of the Ard Chomhairle to establish the full facts in each instance and will take action as appropriate.

“Fianna Fáil expects the highest standards from its public representatives. There is absolutely no tolerance within the party for any breaches of such standards.”

A spokesperson told TheJournal.ie Queenan’s future as a councillor is a matter for him and Sligo County Council.

‘Playing along’

Earlier today former Fine Gael councillor Hugh McElvaney, who was also secretly recorded for the programme, said he was “taking the piss out of RTÉ” by playing along with the sting operation.

download (4) Hugh McElvaney Source: Screengrab/RTÉ

He asked for £10,000 as an initial payment for helping the fake company.

Speaking this morning to Northern Sound FM, McElvaney claimed he was only playing along with the journalist because he knew from the outset that someone was trying to dupe him.

“Any public representative worth his salt would have nothing to do with an investment company or developer of any kind,” he said.

There are politicians that have gone to jail for this. Did you think I was a gombeen man from Monaghan? Obviously you did, but I’m not such a gombeen. So I lured her into my trap.

- with reporting from Rónán Duffy

Originally published: 10.45pm

Read: “I lured her into my trap” – councillor claims he was only playing along with £10k RTÉ sting

Read: “What’s in it for me?” – Explosive RTÉ documentary shows politicians seeking cash

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