Councillors sue County Manager for defamation

Two Wicklow County Council members are suing county manager Eddie Sheehy for defamation.

It was reported in the Irish Times that a press release issued by Wicklow County Council, was personally written by Mr Sheehy and designed to cause maximum damage to three named councillors.

Councillors Tommy Cullen and Barry Nevin are suing the County Manager  for defamation arising from a row over the acquisition of a three-acre housing site near Charlesland, Greystones, for €3 million in 2011.

Councillors Cullen, Nevin and Cllr Jimmy O’Shaughnessy — who is not part of the defamation suit — had complained to Environment Minister Phil Hogan that the site was land-locked, prone to flooding, and overvalued.

Minister Hogan then initiated a review the deal, which concluded that almost all of the councillors’ concerns were not well-founded or were misconceived.

Within three hours of receiving the report, County manager Eddie Sheehy drafted and issued a press release, claiming the council had lost €200,000 because “of the unfounded and misconceived allegations of councillors Cullen, Nevin and O’Shaughnessy”.

Councillors Cullen and Nevin claim the words implied they had wasted public money and were unfit to act as public servants, a claim rejected by the county manager.

The hearing continued today.

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