Council cathaoirleach, Cllr Tommy Reilly facing SIPO probe


Cathaoirleach of Meath Co Council, Cllr Tommy Reilly is to face a Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) hearing later this month.

A statement released by the Commission this week said: "An Investigation Hearing into alleged contraventions of the Local Government Act 2001 and the Code of Conduct for Councillors by Councillor Tommy Reilly of Meath County Council will be held by the Standards in Public Office Commission (the Commission) in the Commission’s offices on 15th and 16th April 2024 each day at 10am.

Asked of the nature of the investigation and hearing the Commission responded that "details of the alleged contravention and any details provided to the Commission will be presented during the hearing."

Meath Co Council previously held an internal investigation to establish if Cllr Reilly breached ethics legislation in relation to the rezoning of a 35-acre site at Liscarton owned by his son, that saw its value rise from €500,000 to €4.2m in 2017.

Councillor Reilly had declared a conflict of interest when the rezoning of the site, on the Navan-Kells road, had come before councillors in July 2017. He absented himself from the vote.

That investigation found that while Cllr Reilly had excused himself from the vote which reclassified the land, he "inadvertently" broke ethical rules by not “updating his register of interests.”

Aontu leader and Meath West TD Peadar Toibin believes Cllr Reilly needs to stand aside from his role as Cathaoirleach of Meath Co Council until the outcome of the hearing is decided.

“It is common in Ireland that people step down from their positions while being investigated, and we believe that Tommy Reilly should do just that.

“He should step down from his position until there is a full investigation into his conduct and a judgment by SIPO.

“We understand that under the law he is innocent until proven guilty, but there must be full transparency at council level.”

Responding, Cllr Tommy Reilly said he didn't want to say too much ahead of the hearing but that "an internal investigation by Meath Co Council had cleared him of any wrongdoing and I believe the SIPO hearing will establish the same outcome." Cllr Reilly said he would not be stepping back from his role as cathaoirleach of the council which will hold it next monthly meeting on Monday 8th April.

Members of the public and the media who wish to attend the SIPO hearing will only be facilitated online via Zoom. Anyone wishing to observe the hearing is asked to contact the office by email via before 4pm on Friday, 12th April 2024 to register their interest.