Ethics Act review to examine disclosure obligations for TDs selling goods to public bodies – The Irish Times


The government should expand a review of ethics legislation to examine the disclosure obligations of TDs selling properties to public bodies.

Amid a review of state minister Robert Troy’s property deals, the Department of Public Expenditure said on Wednesday it would look into the matter as part of an ongoing review of ethics in office legislation public.

Mr Troy said he would amend the register of interests of Dáil members after failing to declare his ownership or co-ownership of three houses in recent years.

He said he assumed that he did not have to declare a property if he did not have an interest in it at the end of the relevant year. Two of these properties were subsequently sold to local authorities.

However, Mr Troy argued that he had not breached the obligation to disclose contracts for goods or services with public bodies worth more than €6,500. He stated that the contract provision does not apply to contracts for goods or services, and that a house is not a good or a service. The Public Service Standards Commission (Sipo) said that “in summary, there is no obligation to disclose such contracts under the Public Service Ethics Act 1995”.

Mr Troy said he had ‘no problem’ with TD Solidarity Paul Murphy submitting a complaint to Sipo about him ‘as I have already admitted my error in my statements regarding the properties sold in the years in question “.

Technical problem

Asked if Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath would consider changing the rules so that TDs have to report when selling property to a public body, a department spokeswoman referred to a ongoing review of ethics laws. “Although the particular technical issue that arises has not yet been brought to the attention of the review, it will now be considered as part of the review process, which is currently underway.”

She said the review of the statutory framework for ethics in public life is expected to be completed shortly and that its results will inform proposals for legislative reform.

The department is reportedly considering strengthening the legal obligations of public officials to routinely disclose actual and potential conflicts of interest, including, for the first time, a provision for confidential disclosure of responsibilities to beyond a certain threshold, in addition to sources of income and assets.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday he had “full confidence” in Mr Troy after questions were raised over Fianna Fáil TD’s property interests.

Drip information

It came as the opposition sought to increase pressure on the issue, with Sinn Féin company spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly saying there should be “no more information at drop by drop, he needs to make a public statement with all the information now.” . She said local authorities must also release documents relating to the sales, including minutes of relevant meetings, and said public trust was at stake. Details of the holdings first appeared on the Ditch website.

Reporters asked Mr. Varadkar if he was satisfied with Mr. Troy’s explanation of why he had not declared the properties. “Mr. Troy has given a full explanation and certainly, from my point of view, it adds up,” the Tánaiste told reporters at Co Monaghan.

The Fine Gael leader said his Coalition colleague had erred in his statements and that it would be up to the Dáil authorities and the Sipo, which is independent of the government, to determine whether further investigation was needed. “I think it’s really important that he has due process in this regard.”

He added that some people in politics were involved in business before being appointed to the cabinet. “And among those businesses there may be properties, you know. There are a lot of people you want involved in politics who are involved in construction, business, agriculture, etc. “, did he declare. “Are we really saying they can’t, you know, engage in business or buy and sell things for profit?


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