Ex-Fianna Fáil councillor and current judge failed to declare property interests

A former Fianna Fáil councillor who was today sworn in as a District Court judge failed to declare his ownership of three properties in his annual ethics returns.

Judge Michael Connellan, previously a town councillor, declined to comment when asked by The Ditch why he submitted the misleading returns to Longford County Council in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Councillors who don't declare their property holdings face criminal prosecution and up to two years’ imprisonment under the Local Government Act 2001.

Nil, nil, nil

Judge Micheal Connellan, who until recently was employed as a solicitor with Tusla, was first elected to Longford Town Council for Fianna Fáil in 2009. He failed in his bid for reelection in the 2014 local elections.

In January 2012, 2013 and 2014, councillor Connellan wrote “nil” when asked to list his property interests for the preceding year on his annual ethics returns.

Connellan made his “nil” declarations despite owning three properties in his native county Longford.

Land Registry records obtained by The Ditch show that from 2008 the then councillor was the registered owner of a one-third share in two commercial properties on Church Street in Longford town. The ex-private practice solicitor was also the owner of a residential property in Lisduff, county Longford since 2006.

Connellan disposed of his interest in the two commercial properties in 2020 and sold the residential property in 2021.

Councillors are required to declare all property interests, including their principal private residence, under Section 171 of the Local Government Act, 2001.

Earlier today Connellan was sworn in as a judge of the District Court in the Supreme Court.

He declined to comment when asked why he failed to declare his property interests and would not say if he intended to amend his annual ethics returns.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors