Harris: I don't think Councillors in RTÉ Investigates can continue in public life

A Minister of State says that local Councillors featured on the RTÉ Investigates programme cannot continue in public life.

It comes after one of those councillors, Hugh McElvaney, claimed that he would run for election again in Monaghan and would top the poll.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, McElvaney claimed that he is worth €10m.

He was secretly filmed appearing to ask for £10,000 in exchange for securing planning permission for windfarms in the RTÉ programme.

However, Mr McElvaney has claimed that he knew the woman was an undercover reporter from the moment the telephone conversation began.

Minister of State Simon Harris said that the Councillors involved should not continue in public office.

"I think the actions of people on that programme has really sullied the job of a local representative," he said.

"It's not reflective of the large majority of local representatives who do an exceptional job.

"I understand though that the material is being examined by An Garda Síochána and I'm very conscious of that in our prejudicing of any action that might be taken.

"But I think all the Councillors involved have very serious issues to reflect [on], and one wonders whether they can continue in public life - I certainly don't think they can."

Fianna Fáil accepted the resignation of Cllr Joe Queenan shortly after the documentary was broadcast.

The hard-hitting documentary, presented by former Irish Examiner Correspondent Conor Ryan, detailed Cllr Queenan appearing to agree to lobby on behalf of a dummy company in exchange for cash or the promise of cash.

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