Thousands spent on improving house bought by council from executive

As the investigation into Louth County Council’s house purchases continues, new documents have revealed that at least €20,174 was spent on a three bedroom dormer bungalow at Tullagee, Knockbridge.

As the investigation into Louth County Council’s house purchases continues, new documents have revealed that at least €20,174 was spent on a three bedroom dormer bungalow at Tullagee, Knockbridge.

The documents also reveal that €1,500 was added to the purchase price of 32 Faneview, Blackrock which was bought by the council from a member of their own staff.

The documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show that Senior Executive Donal Clarke requested an additional €1,500 to be added to the purchase price of a 32 Faneview, Blackrock, owned by Senior Executive Willie Walsh, when the purchase was submitted to the Department of the Environment.

A full scale investigation was launched two weeks ago following a Deloitte audit of the Department, which came about after the Dundalk Democrat revealed the that two houses had been bought by the council from members of the staff within the housing section of the coutny council.

The Democrat also later revealed that the two senior executive had recommended each other’s houses for purchase, as seen on Louth County Council Directors Orders.

It hs been reported that the two executive are currently on leave from work at the County Council.

Documents also reveal that thousands of euro was spent on one of the properties, Tullagee, Knockbridge; after it was purchased in order to improve the property.

A total of €20,174 was paid to three separate construction companies to carry out works on the building since the council purchased the property.

An engineer’s report under taken at the start of the 2013 at the behest of the council revealed numerous issues with the property, which were then remedied in the summer by the county council.

Documents also show after having had a meeting with the tenant in early 2013, a council executive suggested that,before they make a decision on carrying out works at the property “we ask the tenant to make a contribution towards the cost of upgrading the property.

The documents also show that Director Services Joe McGuinness had been made aware that the house at 32 Faneview, Blackrock,w as the property of Senior Executive Willie Walsh.

In a letter sent by Mr Walsh to Joe McGuinness on the 10 August 2010, Walsh states: “This is my current residence, which I have had on the market for the last period.

“In light of the above and given the Council’s current purchasing programme, I would be happy to entertain a new offer from the Council for the house,” Mr Walsh concluded.