Taoiseach says he accepts Stephen Donnelly's explanation over late RTB registration
"It seems to me, on the face of it, to be a genuine oversight."
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has commented on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly's admission that he failed to register a rental property with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) for the last three years.
The Irish Times reported on Wednesday (31 August) that the Health Minister is renting out a property in Sandyford in south Dublin.
It has emerged that while Donnelly declared the property on the Dáil register of Members’ Interests, a tenancy registry was not renewed in 2019 as required under the law.
Donnelly has said that he registered the property last week and paid a late fine of "about €100".
"It shouldn't have happened. The responsibility is mine," he said on Thursday.
"It's a long-standing tenancy. It was registered in 2011. It was renewed in 2015. It should have been renewed in 2019. That's my fault. There was an oversight.
"There was no advantage to it. Obviously, I wouldn't want to have put anyone in this position. As soon as I discovered it, we contacted the RTB. They said to backdate it online. That was done.
"And that is the same process that anybody has to go through who has missed a renewal."
The Health Minister also stated he did not believe the issue warrants his resignation.
Later on Thursday, the Taoiseach said he believed Donnelly had explained the oversight and that he accepted his explanation.
"It should have been registered with the RTB but it had been registered in the previous times, it's a long tenancy, and it has been declared," he added.
"So, it seems to me, on the face of it, to be a genuine oversight. I accept the Minister's explanation for that."
Following these comments, the Taoiseach was quizzed on the possibility that Donnelly could have had a conflict of interest when speaking in the Dáil about finance bills that would impact landlords.
"I think, generally speaking, if people are contributing to Dáil Éireann and they have a particular interest, they should declare that interest," Martin responded.
"Although, it has been declared on the register of interests and that's the important point.
"So, it's not that he hadn't declared it, he hadn't publicly.
"But again, we have to look at the context in which that debate took place and there can be very genuine motivations as well when people bring forward proposals and amendments to legislation."
Main image via Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie