mistake | 

Waterford TD Matt Shanahan apologises for not stating that he was a landlord in documents

Deputy Shanahan says the Statement of Registerable Interest was filled out by his office and he should have looked at it in more detail before signing it

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Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Waterford TD Matt Shanahan has apologised for not stating that he was a landlord on official Oireachtas documents.

A report by the Journal.ie last week found that the Independent Deputy was among eight TDs who listed rental properties but did not specify that they were landlords.

Deputy Shanahan says the Statement of Registerable Interest was filled out by his office and he should have looked at it in more detail before signing it.

Speaking on Déise Today, he explained that it was just a mistake and that while the property had been listed twice on the form under the 'land' section, under profession he did not put down landlord.

"I wouldn't have thought to put down any other trade but obviously that's what I should have done," he said.

The journal.ie report found that eight TDS with letting property interests have no rental income listed from them on the Dáil record.

A section of the Oireachtas’ Declaration of Interests says that TDs must state if they own a property from which they receive more than €2,600 annually, while another section also asks them to state when they have any land interests.

According to the journal,ie, in a section of the register requiring TDs to declare any additional incomes above €2,600, seven TDs who had declared ownership of rental properties elsewhere on the register did not mention if they had received any rental income.

An eighth told The Journal that he had declared rental income correctly in his submission, though this is not reflected in the published list.

The eight TDs who had listed property in their forms, but said they did not receive any rental income listed are the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly (FF), the Minister for Education, Norma Foley (FF), the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann, Seán Ó Fearghaíl (FF), Seán Canney (Ind), Alan Dillon (FG), Johnny Guirke (SF), Michael Healy-Rae (Ind), Matt Shanahan (Ind).

Under guidelines set out by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) and The Committees on Members’ Interests, which oversee compliance with disclosure of interests, TDs must declare any income from a “remunerated trade, profession, [or] employment”, including rental income, exceeding €2,600.

Deputy Shanahan admitted to thejournal.ie that his declaration was in error and he would be submitting a correction.

“Matt Shanahan (an independent TD for Waterford) listed one property that he was letting in his return, but marked as “nil” the section of his declaration that referred to additional income,” thejournal.ie stated.

A representative told The Journal that this was a mistake and that it would be corrected.

“Landlord, as an occupation was omitted from Part 1(i) in error, and will be amended accordingly,” an assistant to Shanahan wrote.

Last month Robert Troy resigned his position as minister of state.

The Fianna Fáil TD was facing growing criticism over his failure to fully declare his property interests in the Dáil register.

The Longford-Westmeath representative owns of part-owns 11 properties around the country – nine of which are rented out.

In his resignation letter, he insisted he is “not a person of privilege and I have not been brought up with a silver spoon in my mouth.”

He said he bought his first house at the age of 20 and claimed he has “worked for all I have”.

It was also revealed that Sinn Féin had warned Meath-West TD Johnny Guirke that any further lapses with the registration of his rental properties “will result in disciplinary action from the party”.

The Irish Independent reported how Mr Guirke’s rental property in Co Galway was not registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

Mr Guirke said the house in Cois na hAbhainn was previously registered but the letting agent handling the rental had not renewed it.

Three other rental properties owned by Mr Guirke in Co Longford and Co Meath are registered with the RTB.

In a statement, Sinn Féin said: “All rental properties should be registered with the Residential Tenancies Board - no ifs, buts or maybes.

“It isn’t acceptable that a rental property was not registered, even for a short period.

Mr Guirke said this property was managed by a letting agency that had taken on responsibility for registration with the RTB.

“This property was initially registered. However, it has come to my attention that this registration lapsed due to an error on behalf of the letting agent,” he said.

“As soon as I became aware of this, I immediately rectified this and the property is registered again with the RTB.

“I take my responsibilities very seriously and regret that this error occurred.”

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