Mr Eoghan Murphy, TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government today (7 November, 2019) appointed Mr Patrick Butler S.C. as an authorised person under section 224 of the Local Government Act 2001. Mr Butler has been appointed for the purpose of carrying out a statutory review and preparing a report to the Minister to establish the role, if any, of Dublin City Council in the events which culminated in payments by construction companies to stop anti-social behaviour on social housing construction sites.
Minister Murphy made the decision to appoint Mr Butler following a recent High Court case during which evidence was presented by An Garda Siochána of sums of money paid to the two defendants in the case which, in respect of at least two of three social housing construction sites, was so-called “protection money” to stop anti-social behaviour.
In carrying out his independent review Mr Butler will examine all relevant files and documents held by the Council as well as interview Council officials and other relevant parties who were involved in the construction projects. Mr Butler will report to the Minister by 9 December, 2019.
Minister Murphy said: “I was extremely concerned by the matters that came to light during the recent court case. Local authorities must be able to provide urgently needed social housing, in particular in disadvantaged communities, without interference or obstruction by criminal elements. There must at all times be full oversight, transparency and accountability in the local authority system to ensure that public funding is used for the purposes for which it is intended.
“The idea that a public body and public money might be dispersed in respect of criminal behaviour shocked many so we must get to the bottom of this and find out the truth.”
Minister Murphy added: “I am confident that Mr Butler has the required expertise to promptly review these matters and establish the truth of what transpired in these particular cases. I look forward to receiving his report.”
The terms of reference for Mr Butler’s appointment are attached, which were prepared following consultation between Minister Murphy and the Attorney General.