Former Lord Mayor of Cork Colm Kelleher apologised to council for leaving rental property off his declaration of interests
2nd September 2022
Fianna Fáil councillor Colm Kelleher wrote to Cork City Council following the Robert Troy controversy to apologise for omitting a property from his declaration of interests.
In a letter dated August 18, the former lord mayor of Cork said: “Recent events in relation to the declarations of elected representatives has prompted me to review my own declaration to Cork City Council.”
The Irish Independent reported yesterday how former tenants of the property in Clonmore, Mallow, Co Cork, took a case with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to get back their deposit of €960.
Despite the tenants paying the deposit to Mr Kelleher and dealing with him throughout their tenancy, he told the RTB it was his brother who was the landlord when the rental watchdog contacted him about the case.
The tenants told the RTB they had no dealings with his brother and that their grievance was with Colm Kelleher.
However, Seamus Kelleher was named as the landlord on the determination order published by the RTB.
Colm Tierney, his wife Siobhan and their three children had been living in the house for five years and paid rent of €280 a week.
The RTB ruled they were entitled to their deposit back, along with €150 in damages.
Mr Kelleher was elected to Cork City Council in 2019 and also served as lord mayor for one year.
In his letter to the council explaining the discrepancy regarding the rental property, he wrote: “I have a 50pc interest in relation to a property in Mallow.
“Due to an ongoing legal issue on this property, I misunderstood that I was obliged to declare this as an interest on my declaration forms.
“I have received advice on this and now in the interest of transparency I wish to correct this genuine mistake. I apologise for any confusion caused.”
The Irish Independent sent Mr Kelleher a number of queries, including a question about whether the property was registered with the RTB as a rental, but did not receive a response.
During the five-year period, the tenants signed two leases. The first was in the name of Colm Kelleher, while the second named both him and his brother, Seamus, as joint landlords.
However, the tenants said they paid their deposit to Colm, contacted him about any issues and only ever dealt with him throughout their tenancy.
They received their deposit and the €150 in damages after the ruling.
TDs and councillors have come under intense scrutiny over their declarations of interests after Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy resigned as a junior minister following revelations by The Ditch that he had not included several properties in his Oireachtas declaration of interests.
A number of politicians have subsequently admitted amending their declaration