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13/04/11 - Investigation Report - Councillor, Donegal County Council
4. The Alleged Contraventions
The issues to be determined by the Commission were whether Councillor Slowey contravened the Local Government Act 2001 and had done a series of "specified acts" as set out in the four contraventions in the Statement of Alleged Contraventions (Appendix 1).
In respect of the four contraventions in the Statement of Alleged Contraventions (Appendix 1), Mr Richard Lyons SC, counsel for Councillor Slowey, indicated in his opening submission that his client accepted that he had contravened the Local Government Act 2001 and had done a series of "specified acts" as set out in that statement. In his closing statement, he stated that at the very least Councillor Slowey was negligent and that the Commission may even find his conduct was reckless in the circumstances.
The Commission therefore had to determine whether the contraventions/"specified acts" were continuing; whether the contraventions or acts were committed or done inadvertently, negligently, recklessly or intentionally; whether the contraventions or acts were, in all the circumstances, serious or minor matters, and whether the person acted in good faith.
Councillor Slowey, in his statement and in his evidence before the Commission stated that he had travelled to Killarney on 16 October 2008 to attend the Third Sector Forum Seminar on Local Authority Financing Conference; that he travelled to and attended the Associations of Irish Regions Conference on 17 October 2008 in Clonakilty and that he travelled back to Killarney on the afternoon of 17 October 2008 and attended the remainder of the Local Authority Financing Conference there. He then travelled back to Donegal, stopping off to stay with relatives on the way.
The Commission regards the claiming of unwarranted expenses to be unacceptable and to be a serious matter.