Wicklow County Council Faces Serious Corruption Questions

UPDATE: 01/05/2017

I spoke to Wicklow County Council Chairman Cllr Pat FitzGerald. He is not in favour of a meeting to discuss any of this

I also spoke to Cllr Tom Fortune, Cllr Tommy Cullen, Cllr Nicola Lawless and Cllr Jennifer Whitmore. They are all in favour of a meeting to dicuss these allegations of corruption.

You have to wonder why Fianna Fail and Cllr Pat Fitzgerald is not in favour of this. What have they to hide?

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30/04/2017

As was published in the greystones guide. Gabriel Dooley has sent a very hard-hitting letter to Wicklow County Council regarding the corruption within planning department and the upper echelons of Wicklow count county Council. As we all know the council in embroiled in several high court cases to defend the indefensible….

They have sent out their staff to make statements to the elected members to frighten them off looking at these corruption cases. Staff members made claims that they were intimidated by council members and the general public over these corruption scandals and its now coming home to roost that they were real and not dreamed up. I do feel sorry for these council workers who were used as pawns to protect senior council officials by the same Officials.

So Dooley’s letter names and shows the depth of corruption in Wicklow County Council. It runs into hundreds of millions of Euro. This is money that could have been used for social housing etc. Councillors like Pat Vance, Council officials Des O’Brien (Who tried to have TD John Brady evicted and lost) are named and there are many others including former county manager Eddie Sheehy, Sean Mulryan of Ballymore homes and the developer Sean Dunne…..

It’s now time for Pat Fitzgerald, the chairman of Wicklow County Council to call a special meeting of the council to discuss this corruption…. He was elected by the people to work for this county and to represent this county. not the senior officials.

Several councillors have written to Cllr Fitzgerald to call this meeting which is one of the powers he has,

Now we have numerous court cases and cover ups and not one single social house built, So it’s time for our County Council chairman Pat Ftzgerald to man up and call this special meeting to find out once and for all the truth behind this corruption.

If he will not call this special meeting to discuss the corruption allegations then he should resign. This is the most important thing to ever cross any councils chairmans desk.

This along with the serious high court case where Brownfield Restoration is suing Wicklow County Council over the largest illegal dump in the history of the country and also the Defamation case bwtwee Wicklow County Council and Cllr Tommy Cullen / Barry Nevin is going to cost a serious amount of money if the Council loses any on these cases.

Tis money will have to come out of vital services such as housing. The Council has already lost a supreme court case against Deirdre DeBurca and also the case over the deaths of Council firemen.

 

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Here is Dolley’s letter to the council. It was sent to every councillor and also every TD. It was also published int the Greystones Guide and elsewhere.

From: “Dooley Auctioneers” <accounts@dooley.ie>
Subject: FW: Investigation.
Date: 24 April 2017 16:21:57

Dear Councillors

Please find email below and attachments which were sent to Mr. Des O’Brien today.

Please confirm receipt of this email.

Kind regards,

Caroline Doyle
Private Secretary

Gabriel Dooley MIPAV MCEI
Managing Director

Dooley Auctioneers Dooley Auctioneers Dooley Auctioneers
Beaumont 96 Main Street La Touche Place
Delgany Bray Greystones
Co. Wicklow. Co. Wicklow. Co. Wicklow.

Phone: 01 – 2010300
Email: info@dooley.ie
Web: www.dooleyestateagents.ie

Est. 1995
PSRA: 003677

“Dooley Auctioneers Open 7 Days”

From: Dooley Auctioneers [mailto:accounts@dooley.ie]
Sent: 24 April 2017 11:16
To: ‘Des O’Brien’ <DOBrien@wicklowcoco.ie>
Cc: ‘Accounts’ <accounts@dooley.ie>
Subject: Re: Investigation.
Importance: High

Mr. Des O’Brien
Head of Planning Department
Director of Services
Wicklow County Council
County Buildings
Wicklow Town
Co. Wicklow

24th April 2017

Dear Des,

As you are aware we have written to you as Head of Planning of Wicklow County Council and to your Mr. Eddie Sheehy former County Manager concerning many issues over the past four years. You and Mr. Sheehy have refused to deal with any of my queries to-date.

We remind you of the issues and request a full explanation to each issue.

Florentine Deal:
Wicklow County Council bought this site for €1 million euro in very unusual circumstances. The site was never advertised for sale publicly and our company was swindled out of a €4.95m payment due on a sale of the lands. Many individuals were involved in this Rigged Deal namely Mr. Eddie Sheehy County Manager, Mr. Des O’Brien Director of Services, Mr. Pat Vance Councillor Wicklow County Council, Mr. Sean Mulryan Ballymore and Mr. Brian Clarke Ballymore and NAMA.

We met with Ballymore representatives in the Berkley Court Hotel Ballsbridge who informed us at that time that a deal was struck with Wicklow County Council in buying the Florentine Lands. They made a proposal to our Company at that meeting to settle our share of the deal. They informed us that if we did not accept the offer they would put in a Receiver and that they would then sell the Lands to Wicklow County Council via the Receiver. We informed Sean Mulryan that this would be a Rigged Deal and that this action would be illegal. Mr Mulryan informed us that all Bord Members of the Ballymore Group were supportive of this plan. The Board members at that time included Dr. Michael Smurfit and Mr. Paul Keogh. You were well aware of this plan as we have on file copy letters sent to you at that time. Please explain your actions in this case.

Compulsory Purchase Orders:
Bray Town Council issued two C.P.O’s on the same Florentine lands in Bray. Both C.P.O’s had Oral Hearings. The two C.P.O’s were given the green light by An Bord Pleanála. You as Manager of Bray District Council, Director of Services and Head of Planning of Wicklow County Council never exercised the “Notices to Treat” on either of the C.P.O’s. If you had signed either of the Notices to Treat that would have triggered a payment to my company for €4.95m euro from a contract with the Ballymore Group and Mr. Sean Mulryan. You were fully aware of this at that time. Please supply copy of Notices to Treat.

Please explain your actions in this case.

NAMA and CMA:
NAMA and The Ballymore Group had entered into a CMA, Connection Management Agreement, with all non-Irish banks to include all UK banks. Ballymore had a CMA guarantee on Florentine Properties Ltd. of €10 million. Wicklow County Council were fully aware of this CMA.

Wicklow County Council, NAMA and CMA:
Please explain your involvement in negotiating this “Off Market” deal on Florentine.

Rezoning of 22 Acres Charlesland.
Simultaneous to the deal happening with Florentine, Wicklow County Council rezoned 22 acres of Industrial land owned by Ballymore to Residential Zoning. This rezoning incurred an uplift in values from €2 million to €22 million euro for the Ballymore Group.

I have asked the Ministers of Environment Mr. Alan Kelly and Mr. Simon Coveney to investigate these rezoning of lands which was most peculiar at that time, while other lands in County Wicklow were being De-Zoned by a Ministerial Order. Please find attached memo to Mr. Simon Coveney dated 15th February 2017.

Please explain as Head of Planning of Wicklow County Council how you orchestrated same against the local Area Action Plan, Greystones Kilcoole Development Plan.

€2.8 Million High Court Case:
Simultaneous to these actions Wicklow County Council were suing Ballymore and others for €2.8m for unpaid levies, planning fees and planning contributions in the High Court. You and Mr. Eddie Sheehy have refused to give any information on this case. Please explain the current situation on this case.

Return of Bond:
Under Planning Reference Number 01-4910 please explain why you signed off on the return of a Bond on the Charlesland Development to the Ballymore Group while you were still suing the same company in the High Court for €2.8m for unpaid levies, contributions. Please note as Head of Planning this was your full responsibility. Please explain why you signed off on the return of this Bond.

Notice of Disposal:
Please supply Notice of Disposal under Folio Number 10533F
Burnaby Mill South, Charlesland, Greystones.

Folio Number 10533F
Dealing Number D2004 KW001106N
Registration Date: 20th January 2004.
Please see Memo attached sent to Minister Simon Harris 23rd March 2015.
Please explain why state lands to the value of €20 million, was disposed of without the knowledge or consent of the 32 Wicklow County Councillors. We have on file a copy of a secret agreement signed by Mr. Eddie Sheehy County Manager, Councillor Pat Vance, and Director of Services Mr. Thomas Murphy giving over State Lands. This secret contract is dated July 2003.

Notice of Disposal:
The Barracuda, Seafront, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
Please supply Notice of Disposal.
Notice of Disposal:
Bray Town Centre 500 Year Lease.
Please supply Notice of Disposal.

19 Agendas:
As you are aware 19 agendas of meetings of Bray Town Council regarding certain matters were shredded without the consent of any of the Councillors or Officials. You and Mr. David Forde, Town Clerk, have admitted to this and refuse to give any explanations.

Please explain why these agendas were destroyed under your instructions.

Planning 01-4910 – Charlesland:
We have become aware that no planning reports from the Roads Department of Wicklow County Council of which you were heavily involved with Mr. Seamus Walker were issued to either the Planning Department of Wicklow County Council or to An Bord Pleanála, for the above application the largest in Planning Board in Ireland. Please explain.

ZAPI Contributions 01/4910.
Please explain why Certificates of Compliance were issued without receipt of payments to Ballymore ZAPI.

There was a shortfall of payments received by Wicklow County Council of €254,116.86. Please find below details of internal memos stating same.

Internal Memos now received by our office outlines the following:

Memo From: Ms. Damhnait McGuire Planning Enforcement
Reference 01/4910
To: Mr. Fergal Keogh A/DOS Planning
Date: 21st August 2008

“Statement” As a result the other levies were underpaid, this is due to Roads overpayments being assigned across to the other codes. Mr. Seamus Walker DOS is to approach ZAPI regarding this underpayment.

Internal Memo: 7th May 2009
From: Ms. Damhnait McGuire Planning Enforcement
To: Mr. Fergal Keogh A/DOS Planning
Ref: 01/4910
Date: 7th May 2009

Option 1. Correct Reassignment:
In this case Water Sewage Recycling Recreational Three Trout Stream have been underpaid by €254,116.88 and ZAPI would have to pay this.

Option 2. How They Were Assigned:
In this case Water Sewage Recycling Recreational Three Trout Stream have all been paid.

Conclusion:
Option 1:
Roads owe ZAPI €2,756,458.71 and ZAPI owes W/S/R/R/TTS €254.116.86. This would involve ZAPI being informed and asked to forward this €254.116.86.
Which could prove difficult as they have already received compliance documentation.

Or Option 2:
Roads owe ZAPI €2,502,341.83 in off sets – see note below.

Internal Memo:

To: Des O’Brien
From: Fergal P Keogh SE
Date: 03/05/2009
Message: I recommend that option 2 is used however the agreement of the roads section is required. Your approval is requested.
Signed: Fergal P Keogh SE
Date of signature: 03/05/2009

Internal Memo:
To: Fergal Keogh
From: Des O’Brien
Date: 08/05/2009
Message: Endorsed and approved.
Signed: Des O’Brien
Date of signature: 08/05/2009

Internal Memo:
To: Seamus Walker
From: Des O’Brien
Date: 08/05/2009
Message: For your endorsement.
Signed: Des O’Brien

Internal Memo:
To: Fergal Keogh SE
From: Seamus Walker
Date: 11/05/2009
Message: Damhnait called to my office and clarified the position, see her hand-written figures above and by reference to her memo to you dated 21/08/2008. The last sentence of that memo indicates that I was too approach ZAPI re underpayment. This statement is not correct as I did not approach ZAPI because the matter had not been resolved and as I had not been asked or consulted about the set offs this is a matter for planning to resolve with ZAPI.
Signed: Seamus Walker
Date: 11/05/2009
Internal Memo:
To: Fergal Keogh
From: Damhnait McGuire
Date: 20/05/2009
Message: Re: Note from Seamus Walker, Director of Services Roads reference in this memo to previous memo of 21st August relates only to the figures contained therein and not to the Director of Services approaching ZAPI.

If option 1 of this memo is taken, planning would have to approach ZAPI and if option 2 is taken, no approach would be made to ZAPI.
Signed: Damhnait McGuire
Date: 20/05/2009

Internal Memo:
To: Des O’Brien, Director of Services
From: Seamus Walker
Date: 08/07/2009
Message: I discussed this with Lorraine Lynch, Head of Finance and she has no objection to option 2. Therefore, I endorse and recommend option 2.
Signed: Seamus Walker
Date: 08/07/2009

It is quite clear in the above that Wicklow County Council Planning Department issued Certificates of Compliance without payment.

We are now calling upon you to fully explain the issuing of Certificates of Compliance without payment.

We look forward to your response.

Enc. 2

Please confirm receipt of this email.

Gabriel Dooley MIPAV MCEI
Managing Director

Dooley Auctioneers Dooley Auctioneers Dooley Auctioneers
Beaumont 96 Main Street La Touche Place
Delgany Bray Greystones
Co. Wicklow. Co. Wicklow. Co. Wicklow.

Phone: 01 – 2010300
Email: info@dooley.ie
Web: www.dooleyestateagents.ie

Est. 1995
PSRA: 003677

“Dooley Auctioneers Open 7 Days”