A Fianna Fáil county councillor who had to pay Revenue €778,416 for under-declaring income tax and Vat will not be seeking to retain his seat at the forthcoming local elections and could be replaced on the local authority by the chairman of the GAA’s Cork County Board.
Cllr Dan Fleming, an auctioneer who lives in Blarney, will not be contesting the council seat he’s held since 1991. Fianna Fáil are hopeful Bob Ryan will replace him on the ticket.
In 2012, Mr Fleming made the headlines after an audit by Revenue, which found he had made an under-declaration of income tax and Vat to the tune of €515,315. They also imposed interest and penalties of €263,065, leaving him having to make a total settlement of €778,416.
The councillor, who is in his mid-60s, subsequently said the bill arose from an error and he was “sorry for it.”
Cllr Alan Coleman, leader of the FF party on the council, said a selection convention to decide who would run instead of Mr Fleming in the Blarney-Macroom electoral area will be held at the Riverside Hotel, Macroom, on March 7.
He said he was expecting two or three candidates to step forward and confirmed the party had approached Mr Ryan to be one of its candidates in the Blarney-Macroom electoral area.
Mr Coleman said he was confident Mr Ryan would stand, and because he was such a high-profile and popular individual, he “would be a great asset to the party.
“We are very confident that we will take two seats for the party in the Blarney-Macroom electoral area. We currently have 12 Fianna Fáil members on the council and we’re hoping to increase that to at least 18 after the forthcoming local elections.”
He paid tribute to Mr Fleming, saying he had been a very active public representative who had served the people of the Blarney area well for many years.
“Dan made a very positive contribution. He informed me he wasn’t seeking re-election because he was quite busy these days in his auctioneering business.”
However, he added that the redrawing of the electoral areas would have presented somewhat of a challenge to Mr Fleming.
The Macroom area has been added to the Blarney electoral area, so Mr Fleming would have had to canvass in a region he was not that well known in. In addition, as part of the redrawing of the boundaries, he lost Carrignavar and Whitechurch, considered to be areas where he was a very strong vote-getter.
Mr Ryan is in his last year as county board chairman and lives near Inniscarra. Fianna Fáil believe he is ideally located in the redrawn constituency and see his considerable GAA connections proving a huge advantage to him at the polls.
The married father-of-three played with Inniscarra before taking up administration duties in the GAA, serving as PRO from 2009 before being elected vice chairman and then chairman of the county board.
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