Rónán Mullen: 'under no obligation'

SENATOR RÓNÁN Mullen has told the Senate committee investigating a complaint about him that he is "under no obligation to comply with any ultimatum" put forward by People Before Profit, the group criticising him for refusing to name a politician who told him he should fiddle his expenses.

Mullen was speaking after the complaint led to his name being included in a statement with those of three other senators who are being investigated for alleged expenses irregularities. His name appeared in the statement issued by the Seanad Committee on Members' Interests on Monday. The independent senator was angry to have been included in a "gang of four" being investigated and claimed that a complaint made against him was "vexatious".

People Before Profit made the complaint after Mullen said that an Oireachtas colleague had advised one night in the Dáil bar that he could claim expenses from his native Galway rather than from his Dublin address. Mullen has always claimed from his Dublin home and he has declined to name the person as the comments may have been made "in jest".

The Sunday Tribune understands that Mullen has formally written to the Seanad Committee on Members' Interests this weekend to tell them that he is under no obligation to comply with any ultimatum put forward by the People Before Profit.

"They issued me with an ultimatum that if I didn't name the person who made the comments to me then they would make a complaint against me. I am not accountable to People Before Profit; it is a matter for the committee. I have examined the relevant legislation and I have not violated any of it in any way." He criticised the Seanad Committee's handling of the issue and complained that they "either don't know the law or have disclosed a flaw in the system where every single complaint, no matter how vexatious it is, will mean people are called before a committee".

The committee is expected to meet before the end of August.