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Planning in Donegal

Review of 2015

Gerard Convie is a man who wears sober ties and measures his words.

He worked for the County Council in Donegal, once Ireland’s most beautiful and wildest county, as a senior planner for nearly 24 years. He has claimed that during his tenure in the Council planning irregularities were perpetrated by named officials at the highest level in the Council. He claims these included former Manager Michael McLoone – who has initiated defamation proceedings against Village magazine (though we’ve heard nothing in a year) – as well as named county councillors.

Convie had a list of more than 20 “suspect cases” in the County, a ‘cesspit’. Two years ago the government initiated a review of his allegations. Then a Minister dismissed them as lacking substance and closed it down. Convie claimed this made him look bad and sued. And got a payout and – in September – , the appointment of a senior lawyer, Rory Mulcahy to look into his allegations.

The ‘review’ [by god is this not an Inquiry or Tribunal] is non-statutory ie makey-uppy and Minister Alan Kelly has reserved the right for himself or his successor not to publish its findings.

So he has provided in surprisingly hazily- drafted terms for review of “all written allegations received in the Department in relation to certain planning matters n [sic] respect of Donegal County Council”.

Originally the terms contained a confidentiality clause but following further correspondence this seemed to disappear. In November, Convie expressed his concern that his evidence may be shared beyond the ‘review” and said he considered the change may represent “bad faith” and even “affect my continued cooperation with the exercise”.

The terms also fail to make it clear if it will address impropriety ie corruption or just ‘bad practice’’ie incompetence though if it does not address impropriety it’s possible that Convie will feel slighted and have another payday.