Fine Gael candidate drops out of local elections after planning allegations

Fine Gael candidate drops out of local elections after planning allegations
Simon Harris, © PA Wire/PA Images

A Fine Gael candidate in the local elections has dropped out of the race and apologised over allegations relating to a planning application.

Marian Agrios pulled out of contention for a Drogheda Rural seat on Louth County Council on Tuesday after it was reported that she had allegedly received money and building work at her home in return for withdrawing a planning objection.

In a statement, Ms Agrios said: “What occurred was wrong, and I am extremely sorry for it.

“It should not have happened.”


In her reaction to a report on The Ditch news website, she said her name would still appear on the ballot paper, but she appealed to constituents not to vote for her.

In the initial article, the website said Ms Agrios had received building work and money worth €30,000 euro from a developer for withdrawing a planning objection.



Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Fine Gael leader Simon Harris said “spurious objections” are never acceptable.

The Taoiseach was responding to a comment from Labour TD Duncan Smith, who said legislation on ethics in public office is “long overdue”.


“Ethics are not optional extras,” said Mr Smith.

“We’ve had another example of ‘go-away’ money from a developer being given to – in this case – a candidate in the local elections from your own party.

“I know that candidate has said they’re suspending their campaign or whatever but they’ll still be on the ballot paper with the Fine Gael logo beside their name.”

Mr Smith asked the Taoiseach what he would say to the constituents in Drogheda who will see the candidate’s name on the ballot paper.

Mr Harris replied: “Cabinet today agreed to a series of amendments – several hundred amendments – to the Planning Bill that will be coming back to this House, I think, on the 11th of June.

“One of them is very much in relation to that issue of spurious objections or indeed seeking money from developers to withdraw objections, which is never an acceptable situation in any manner or mean.”

Fine Gael minister Heather Humphreys said Ms Agrios “made the right decision” to withdraw her campaign.

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Social protection minister Heather Humphreys said Marian Agrios had ‘made the right decision’ (Niall Carson/PA)

Asked about the allegations, Ms Humphreys said: “I don’t actually know the person and I was surprised to hear that.

“Nevertheless she’s made the right decision as far as I’m concerned.

“She has withdrawn her candidacy and she has asked the people don’t vote for her.

“People do sign declarations when the come forward for election.

“As far as we’re concerned as a party, there is an internal process that we’ll go through and we’ll hear all of the facts at that stage.”

By Cillian Sherlock, PA

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