Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said that a junior minister has been “very open and honest” about not declaring the sale of a property in Co Westmeath on the Dáil’s list of members’ declared interests.
Mr O’Brien said that Robert Troy, Minister of State with responsibility for trade promotion, would be amending his Dáil declarations “this week or over the coming days”.
The Ditch website first reported that Mr Troy had previously owned a property in Mullingar that he failed to declare the sale of to Westmeath County Council in 2018.
Oireachtas ethics rules require public office holders to declare contracts that they were a part of, directly or indirectly, if the value of the goods or services exceeded €6,500.
The Fianna Fáil TD, who was a Westmeath councilor before he was elected to the Dáil in 2011, stated last week that he would amend the Dáil Register of Members’ Interests.
“That property was declared on my members’ interests between 2011 and 2017. Due to an error on my behalf, I left it off in 2018 as I sold the property during that year and I am in the process of amending that,” he told RTÉ on Thursday.
He added: “There’s actually no requirement to declare who a property is sold to.
“I was under the impression, wrongly, that you declared the property that you had in your possession when making the declaration at the end of December. It was an error on my part and I’m going to amend it.”
Speaking on RTÉ radio on Tuesday, the Minister for Housing said: “I do understand that Minister Troy has been in contact with the clerk of the Dáil and with the Standards in Public Office [Sipo] Commission and, as is permitted under the legislation, is making an amendment and will be making an amendment to his declarations of interest.
“And I welcome that and I think Robert has been very clear and open about that and that’s as much as I know of the situation, but that he will be making an amendment to his declaration.
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“I think that Robert has been very open and honest: he said that he misunderstood that element of it. He’s going to rectify that.
“He’s been in contact with Sipo and with the clerk of the Dáil and I understand that he’ll be making an amended declaration this week or over the coming days.
“It will be done in a very open way and I think he hasn’t shirked from his comments with regard to this. And he’s been very clear, he’s held his hands up and he’s said he made a genuine mistake, which is going to be fixed, and he’s going to fix it.”