Taoiseach Micheál Martin has again backed Robert Troy and signaled his support for Eamon Ryan’s proposal that the Dáil’s Ethics Watch examine the property portfolio of the minister under fire.
Minister Troy has made it clear that he will go before the Dáil to answer questions and that is for the Dail to decide,” a spokesman for the Taoiseach said.
“The minister has also stated that he is willing to work with SIPO, which is independent of the government, and is always open to SIPO to investigate.
“The Minister has issued a full statement and sincerely apologized for his mistakes and stands ready to answer further questions and clarify any issues that may arise.”
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar continues to support Mr Troy, who is a junior minister in his department, saying through a spokesman: “The Tánaiste welcomes Minister Troy’s willingness to work with SIPO, the RTB and/or the Dáil and to answer any further questions .
“Minister Troy has already issued a full statement, sincerely apologizing for his mistakes and indicating he will make any further clarification needed.”
In a statement released through his office this afternoon, Troy said he remained prepared “to join forces with SIPO, RTB or a Dáil committee as suggested by Minister Ryan”.
Mr Troy has also claimed that building regulations for a property in Dublin that he and his co-owner have refurbished for letting do not require a fire certificate.
Fianna Fáil TD, which is under increasing pressure over its property interests, today issued a new statement after it was revealed that the development on Rathdown Road in Phibsborough, where one-bedroom units rent for over €1,500 a month, no fire registered safety certificate.
In the new statement, Mr Troy said “all work has been completed in accordance with relevant fire codes” after receiving advice that there had been no significant change in use of the property as a result of the renovation work and no certificate was required.
“We received the advice of the architect-engineer who oversaw the development of Rathdown Road that the building predates the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act 1963 and the Building Control Act 1990 and Building Control Regulation 1991 ‘ Mr Troy said in a statement issued through his spokesman.
“The note was that the renovations carried out resulted in neither a “significant change” nor a “significant change in use”, so an application for a fire protection certificate is not required under building regulations.
However, all work has been completed in accordance with relevant fire safety regulations, including the addition of a fire escape as part of these fire safety measures.”
Dublin City Council (DCC) was previously investigating the unauthorized construction of emergency stairs at the rear of the same property that was subdivided into four rental units by Mr Troy and his business partner.
Following a complaint in 2015, the DCC Enforcement Office said in 2016 that the metal escape stairways were “inconsistent with the character of the structure itself and neighboring structures”.
Mr Troy and his business partner John Noel McGivney later applied to the Council for planning for the unauthorized development – known as a retention permit – which approved it.
Mr Troy’s statement added: “I can also confirm that Dublin City Council has advised that no planning is required for 25a Rathdown Road, apart from the planning we have received for the fire escape.
“Dublin City Council inspected this property in 2015 and 2016 and issued a report in September 2016 recommending that no further action was required.”
Mr Troy’s statement does not address the issue that in July 2020 DCC issued a formal warning letter and opened an investigation into alleged unauthorized development outside of set working hours at the Rathdown Road property in Phibsborough.
The planning enforcement office of the council announced yesterday that the file was still open.
Under planning law, the Council can initiate enforcement proceedings for unauthorized developments, with a person found guilty liable to a fine of up to €10 million, imprisonment for up to two years, or both.
Addressing the wider controversy, Mr Troy said he was ready to get in touch with authorities.
“I reiterate my willingness to work with SIPO (Standards in Public Office Commission), RTB (Residential Tenancies Board) or Dáil Committee as suggested by Minister (Eamon) Ryan,” he said.
It comes after Green Party leader Eamon Ryan called for an investigation to be launched into Mr Troy for failing to inform Dáil records of parts of his housing portfolio.
Mr Ryan said it was “very disappointing” to hear Fianna Fáil’s junior minister on RTÉ Radio 1 yesterday.
Minister Troy has made “significant errors in the (Dáil) statement” regarding his “property interests”, Mr Ryan told News at One on RTÉ Radio 1 today.
This could “undermine confidence in the political system,” added the Environment Minister.
Mr Ryan said he now thought it “appropriate, as various people have suggested under our Ethics Act…” that SIPO “carry out an investigation by the Commission”.
He said he felt this should take place to identify “very clear procedures”.
“I think they (SIPO) should (investigate),” Mr Ryan added.
“Finally, I think we need clarity on what exactly the rules for leases are and how they need to be declared.
“It’s not clear at this point — that’s come out on this whole issue.”
Mr Ryan said he went so far as to speak to Ceann Comhairle about the matter this morning “to get his opinion”.
“I think it would be possible for people like the Committee on Procedures, Privileges and Oversight to do a full investigation into the ethics policy,” he added.
Those in public office are “accountable” to the public, he added. He said it would be “appropriate if this were done before the Dáil’s return”.
Any questions from the opposition could then be asked there, he said. Such an open forum would mean that the issue could be “addressed in an appropriate manner”.
“I think this could be done quickly and has to be done quickly.”
Mr Ryan said an investigation by SIPO is an option he prefers as it is set out in ethics legislation as an “appropriate mechanism”.
Ministers and TDs also now need “clarity” on leases and how they must be declared, he added.
Plans for the winter would need to be spelled out in the budget, Mr Ryan also said.
This could include windfall charges to help companies weather an “unprecedented period in terms of price shock” due to rising fuel costs.
He explained that every effort must be made to “keep the lights on” and to help people “afford power”.
Price caps introduced in other countries, including the UK, have not necessarily worked, he said. Rather, he added, some funds could be raised to support people.
He also said that a “Reduce Your Consumption” campaign could help reduce demand on the web.
https://www.independent.ie/news/taoiseach-and-tanaiste-again-back-robert-troy-as-green-leader-eamon-ryan-calls-for-investigation-41934560.html Taoiseach and Tánaiste once again support Robert Troy when Green leader Eamon Ryan calls for an investigation