Cllr John O’Donnell warned to appear in court

A judge has warned a politician who featured in an RTÉ Investigates programme to appear in court next month or face arrest over a long-running failure to pay compensation to a woman injured on a building site.

Cllr John O’Donnell warned to appear in court

Petra Kucklick, a German native from Mill Cottage, Rooskey, Creeslough, Co Donegal, appeared before Letterkenny District Civil Court yesterday to press her claim against Cllr John O’Donnell.

The politician was at the centre of a scandal last month when he appeared on an RTÉ Investigates programme in which he appeared to ask for cash for political favours. He has denied the allegations.

Ms Kucklick’s barrister, Laura O’Reilly, representing the Legal Aid Board, said Ms Kucklick had been awarded personal injury compensation in 2008 but that Mr O’Donnell had failed to pay any of the award.

That judgment related to an incident in 2000 in which Mr O’Donnell had driven over the foot of Ms Kucklick at a building site in the county.

Ms O’Reilly told District Judge Paul Kelly there was now €33,000 in arrears and Mr O’Donnell, of 1 Larganreagh, Downings, had failed to make any payments despite several court appearances.

Kevin McElhinney, for Mr O’Donnell, said his client had only received papers in the case before Christmas. He had provided a statement of means in November 2014 and wasn’t in a position to pay anything to Ms Kucklick.

Ms O’Reilly said Mr O’Donnell had consistently failed to comply with an installment order and had failed to provide details of his Northern Ireland bank accounts. She said euro bank accounts provided to her client had shown Mr O’Donnell was collecting substantial rents on properties.

Mr McElhinney said the assets referred to in previous correspondence had debts over them, with one property worth €130,000 with a debt of €180,000.

Ms O’Reilly said Mr O’Donnell’s bank statements showed rents coming in and no mortgages on the properties going out. She asked the judge to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.

Judge Kelly heard that Mr O’Donnell wasn’t in court as he was out of the country. He ordered that Mr O’Donnell provide answers to all questions raised in court by Ms O’Reilly. He adjourned the case pre-emptory against Mr O’Donnell until February 3.

The judge told Mr McElhinney: “Explain to Mr O’Donnell if he is not in court the next time, I will issue a warrant for his arrest.”

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