Niall Collins SIPO probe 'suspended' as gardaí examine criminal complaint

SIPO has “suspended” a probe into Niall Collins while gardaí examine allegations of criminality against the Fianna Fáil junior minister.

The Ditch reported earlier this year that Collins voted to sell public land in county Limerick that his wife later bought.

An Garda Síochána previously said that it “is examining whether there was any criminality involved” in Collins’s actions.

'Currently subject to ongoing inquiries by An Garda Siochána'

Former Fianna Fáil activist Kris Shekleton submitted a complaint against Limerick TD Niall Collins in April this year alleging that the ex-councillor breached section 177 of the Local Government Act 2001.

Shekleton’s complaint focused on the further education minister's failure to recuse himself from a 2007 vote to sell public land his wife had sought to buy from Limerick County Council just a month earlier.

SIPO wrote to Shekleton this week informing him that the commission had considered his complaint against Collins “at a recent meeting”.

SIPO told Shekleton it has suspended its work on the complaint till An Garda Síochána concludes its own inquiries on the matter. 

“The commission was made aware that this matter is currently subject to ongoing inquiries by An Garda Siochána. Accordingly, so as not to prejudice the outcome of any examination of this matter by gardaí, the commission decided to suspend further consideration of the complaint until the ongoing inquiries by gardaí have been concluded,” SIPO’s complaints and investigation unit confirmed in its letter dated 31 October, 2023.

SIPO added that it “will reconsider the complaint once these inquiries have finished”.

Collins has denied any criminal wrongdoing but accepted “in hindsight” that he should not have participated in the decision to sell the Patrickswell, county Limerick development site subsequently bought by his wife. 

The garda press office had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication but told The Ditch in mid-September that it had “no update available at this time” concerning its examination of allegations against Collins, which it first received more than five months ago.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors