Council denies using private investigators

Cavan County Council has denied hiring private investigators to help crack down on enforcement matters.

Responding to a query put byThe Anglo-Celt, the local authority said it has not used private snoops “in any capacity” going back as far as five years.

It comes after details emerged that councils across the country had spent almost a quarter of a million euro on hiring private detectives.

Such operatives have been employed by some local authorities to examine incidents of illegal waste or investigate those behind protected disclosures, as well as planning enforcement over the past three years.

Dublin City Council has paid out the most over the past three years, with €72,413 spent on investigations since the beginning of 2017.

That included a sum of €58,548 paid out for an investigation into a protected disclosure.

A further €9,000 was paid out to an investigator for another protected disclosure inquiry in 2018.

Monaghan County Council also ran up a bill of €8,555 on private investigator services last year; while €13,463 was spent in Meath on private detective services over three years.

Cork City Council meanwhile spent €31,300 on private detective services over the three years.

In Limerick, the total spend was €35,781; Kildare ran up a bill €27,801, with almost all spent on environmental enforcement.

Fingal County Council spent €14,300 over the past two years.

Elsewhere, Kilkenny Council spent €2,694 on a planning enforcement investigation, and Clare spent €1,697 to serve “statutory notices”.

Roscommon County Council’s environmental section paid out €5,990.