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JOHN O’DONNELL HIT BACKS AT RTE INVESTIGATION

first_imgCouncillor John O’Donnell on last night’s RTE Investigates programme.Embattled county councillor John O’Donnell has hit back at the RTE documentary which alleged that he was looking for cash for favours.Councillor O’Donnell was filmed by the national broadcaster meeting with a bogus wind farm company.In the film he is heard saying he will work with the company but that a third party will accept any payment on his behalf. Today councillor O’Donnell issued another statement on the matter – in wake of the broadcast.This is the full statement.“I would like to express my serious dissatisfaction with regards to yesterday evening’s Prime Time Broadcast – that included an audio and visual recording taken of me without my consent at a meeting that was misrepresented to me by the National Broadcaster as a ‘confidential’ meeting with me as a businessman and public representative.“It is my view that RTE have failed in their statutory obligation to provide a balanced report and instead have provided an edited version to serve their own sensationalist agenda. “It is in my view that RTE in particular failed to take into account my relevant submissions and my pre-broadcast Press Release of yesterday afternoon with a view to damaging my reputation and creating sensational viewing.“For the sake of clarity, I did offer to assist Vinst Opportunities identify sites which are likely to get planning permission for wind farms in County Donegal. This is a matter of public record and I am very openly pro business, pro renewable energy and pro wind development.“The references in the programme to dealing with the matter on a strictly confidential basis is taken completely out of context. For the sake of clarity, what I represented was that the matter would have to be treated confidentially initially until a person was established to avoid other businessmen seizing the opportunity and other local councillors hijacking same for their own political benefit.“The reference to a payment was, for the sake of clarity, on the basis that I, as a businessman might be participating in any project that materialised from work that I would be completing as a businessman, and my payment for such work would be dealt with by a professional team that I would be putting together, and strictly in accordance with the law and the applicable ethical disclosure procedures.“Any reference to a payment to a third party was made in that context, however I must add that done so without that third party’s knowledge, consent or agreement which I accept was incorrect and inappropriate. “This position was made clear to RTE and was accepted by RTE.“Please note that had a project materialised and had I been personally involved in working on it, or any part of it, I would, of course, have disclosed my interested in accordance with my obligations with regard to my annual declaration of declarable interests pursuant to section 171 of the Local Government Act, 2001.“I further confirm that I did indicate I could influence the County’s zoning policy and lobby other County Councillors to be more supportive of Wind Farm Development.“However, I believe that is clearly within my mandate as a public representative. For the sake of clarity my estimation of garnering support of between 25-30 other members was an opinion which may or may not have materialised depending obviously on the particular project. “I have made no secret of the fact, that I am, as noted above, in favour of renewable energy projects and Wind Farm Development in County Donegal, provided it is completed within the applicable statutory guidelines.“I firmly believe wind farming to be an excellent use of a natural resource in an area that is heavily deprived of any investment and employment opportunities comparatively speaking.“In the event I became a participant in any investment made by Vinst Opportunities, had it not been a RTE fictional creation that would be advancing a renewable energy site, once again I can assure you that my interest therein would have been disclosed.“I refer to my press release of yesterday wherein I noted that since being elected any motion that I have put forward at Local Authority level, or any notion that I supported, has been done only in the public interest without any benefit to me personally or any of my business interests.“As noted I have furnished to RTE a full copy of all the motions brought by me to date which are available for public inspection and will very clearly support my position.“For the sake of clarity I have brought NO motions to re-zone lands or supported any motions brought by any other councillors to re-zone lands.“On the contrary RTE as a National Broadcaster not only misrepresented to me that their reporter wished to meet me for a ‘confidential’ meeting in my capacity, I understood, as a businessman but it has failed in its statutory obligation to provide a full and balanced report.“In addition RTE have deliberately refused to furnish me with a copy of the footage and the audio recording requested by me and as such I have no option but to file a complaint with the Data Protection Commissioner in this regard.“I continue to reserve all my rights in relation to this matter an in particular to seek damages from RTE for flagrantly breaching and continuing to breach my constitutional and EU Law Rights to privacy.“As this matter is currently with my legal team I will not be making any further comment until the legal process has been concluded. ”JOHN O’DONNELL HIT BACKS AT RTE INVESTIGATION was last modified: December 8th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more