Michael Fahy

Last updated


Michael Fahy
Galway County Councillor
In office
1979–2019
Constituency Loughrea
Personal details
Died (aged 78)
NationalityIrish
Political party Fianna Fáil
Other political
affiliations
Independent

Michael "Stroke" Fahy (1940/41 – 2 April 2019 [1] ) was an Irish farmer, and a Fianna Fáil and sometime independent member of Galway County Council. [2] From Ardrahan and first elected to the council in 1979, [3] he resigned from Fianna Fáil in 2004 when under investigation for misappropriation of funds from the council. [4] He served a prison sentence for this in 2007, [5] but his conviction was overturned in 2011. [6] He rejoined Fianna Fáil in 2018. [7]

Fianna Fáil, officially Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party, is a conservative political party in Ireland.

Galway County Council

Galway County Council is the authority responsible for local government in County Galway, Ireland. As a county council, it is governed by the Local Government Act 2001. The council is responsible for housing and community, roads and transportation, urban planning and development, amenity and culture, and environment. The council has 39 elected members. Elections are held every five years and are by single transferable vote. The head of the council has the title of Cathaoirleach. The county administration is headed by a Chief Executive. The county seat is at Áras an Chontae in Galway city.

Ardrahan Village in Connacht, Ireland

Ardrahan is a village in County Galway, Ireland.

Contents

Early career

Fahy owned a 70-acre farm and prior to his trial worked as a salesman for New Ireland Assurance. [1] He was appointed a Peace Commissioner in 1978, and was on the visiting committee of Limerick Prison until 2004. [8] He ran in Galway West as an independent in the 1987 general election, but later rejoined Fianna Fáil. [9] [10] In the 2004 local elections, Fahy was criticised for using thousands of prepaid Oireachtas envelopes to write to voters. He said "I wanted to show I had the support of the Oireachtas members and if I hadn't done it like the other candidates, it would seem like I didn't have the same clout." [11] The judge at his 2007 trial alluded to Fahy's "quite extensive property assets of great value"; [2] his 2010 councillor's declaration of interests lists land at Cregclare, Ardrahan, and Caherduff. [12]

A Peace Commissioner is an honorary position in Ireland with special powers and whose role is to primarily taking statutory declarations, and witnessing signatures on documents required by various authorities. Peace Commissioners have the power to issue summons and warrants and to sign certificates and orders under various Acts of the Oireachtas.

Galway West (Dáil constituency) Dáil Éireann constituency (1937-)

Galway West is a parliamentary constituency represented in Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament or Oireachtas. The constituency elects 5 deputies. The method of election is the single transferable vote form of proportional representation (PR-STV).

Oireachtas parliament of the Republic of Ireland

The Oireachtas, sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature of Ireland. The Oireachtas consists of:

"Stroke" nickname

Fahy acquired the nickname "Stroke" (Irish slang for a sly political manoeuvre [13] ) in the 1970s from a local journalist after he convinced the Fianna Fáil national executive to add his name to the local election ticket when the local party had left it out. [1] An advertisement in the Galway Advertiser during his 1987 election campaign has the headline The "Stroke" For Galway West. [10] In quashing his 2007 conviction for misappropriation, Justice Finnegan noted "The name by which the applicant is popularly known and which it is likely was known to some at least of a Galway jury could well exacerbate the prejudice having regard to the nature of the offences with which the applicant is charged." [14] After the success of his 2011 appeal, Fahy's solicitor released a statement: [15]

The Galway Advertiser is a free newspaper distributed throughout Galway city and county on Thursdays. It was the first of the regional newspapers under the "Advertiser" banner, which now also includes publications based in Athlone and Mayo, as well as advertiser.ie.

Cllr Fahy is also particularly anxious to have the media refrain from referring to him as 'The Stroke' in the future. He never took offence at the term in the past, because it was used in the context of a different situation. But he never stood before the people as 'The Stroke' Fahy and he would be grateful if the media would henceforth refer to him by his proper name.

Misappropriation conviction

In 2002–03, a road beside Fahy's farm was being widened, using funds allocated from the Community Involvement Scheme. [16] A contractor erected 2,506 metres of fencing on Fahy's farm. [16] [17] Fahy later claimed in court that he had a verbal agreement to supply an equivalent value of rubble from his farm for the roadworks. [5] The contractor was paid by the council in 2002 for an invoice of €7,055, and submitted another invoice in 2003 for €7,523. [16] [18] After a council investigation, Fahy reimbursed the council for €7,055 and apologised for any embarrassment. [18] In March 2004, the Galway county manager asked Fahy to pay €3,000 to charity; [5] he donated that sum to the Ardrahan Lourdes Invalid Fund. [18] An Irish Independent journalist submitted a request for details under freedom of information legislation, and a Garda investigation was begun. [5] When news of this became public in September 2004, Fahy resigned from Fianna Fáil, [4] although local Fianna Fáil TD Joe Callanan and councillor Michael Regan supported him at his trial. [1]

Oral contract

An oral contract is a contract, the terms of which have been agreed by spoken communication. This is in contrast to a written contract, where the contract is a written document. There may be written, or other physical evidence, of an oral contract – for example where the parties write down what they have agreed – but the contract itself is not a written one.

In local government in the Republic of Ireland, the chief executive of a city or county is the senior permanent official of its local authority. Whereas the county council and city council are elected officials who formulate policy, the chief executive is an appointed official who manages the implementation of policy. The position was introduced in 1929–42 based on the American council–manager government model, and until 2014 the chief executive was styled the county manager or city manager. Their salaries range from €132,511 to €189,301 per annum. The County and City Management Association is the professional association for chief executives, and it is affiliated to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes church located in Hautes-Pyrénées, in France

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes or the Domain is an area of ground surrounding the Catholic shrine (Grotto) to Our Lady of Lourdes in the town of Lourdes, France. The Sanctuary is a destination for pilgrimage; sick pilgrims are reputed to be miraculously healed by Lourdes water. This ground is owned and administered by the Roman Catholic Church, and has several functions, including devotional activities, offices, and accommodation for sick pilgrims and their helpers. The Domain includes the Grotto itself, the nearby taps which dispense the Lourdes water, and the offices of the Lourdes Medical Bureau, as well as several churches and basilicas. It comprises an area of 51 hectares, and includes 22 separate places of worship. There are six official languages of the Sanctuary: French, English, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and German.

In March 2007 at Galway Circuit Criminal Court in Loughrea a jury took 2½ hours to find him guilty on seven counts: [14] [19]

The Circuit Court of Ireland is an intermediate level court of local and limited jurisdiction in the which hears both civil and criminal matters. On the criminal side the Circuit Court hears criminal matters tried on indictment with a judge and jury, except for certain serious crimes which are tried in either the Central Criminal Court or the Special Criminal Court. On the civil side the Circuit Court has a considerable parallel jurisdiction — including equitable remedies — with the High Court but normally cannot award damages of more than €75,000. The Circuit Court also hears de novo appeals from the District Court in both civil and criminal matters.

Loughrea Town in Connacht, Ireland

Loughrea is a town in County Galway, Ireland. The town lies to the north of a range of wooded hills, the Slieve Aughty Mountains, and the lake from which it takes its name. The town is also famous for its cathedral which dominates the town's skyline. The town has increased in population in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Although the town also serves as a commuter town for the city of Galway, it retains its vibrancy as an independent market town.

Theft act of taking anothers property without permission or consent

In common usage, theft is the taking of another person's property or services without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting, library theft, and fraud. In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny; in others, theft has replaced larceny. Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career of theft is known as a thief. The act of theft is also known by other terms such as stealing, thieving, and filching.

The Criminal Justice Act, 2001 updates and consolidates the law relating to dishonesty and fraud in the Republic of Ireland.

Deception is an act or statement which misleads, hides the truth, or promotes a belief, concept, or idea that is not true. It is often done for personal gain or advantage. Deception can involve dissimulation, propaganda, and sleight of hand, as well as distraction, camouflage, or concealment. There is also self-deception, as in bad faith. It can also be called, with varying subjective implications, beguilement, deceit, bluff, mystification, ruse, or subterfuge.

On 20 March 2007 he was sentenced to one year's imprisonment and fined €75,000. [2] The judge criticised Fahy for attempting to implicate other councillors and the fencing contractor in his actions. [2] Senator Michael Kitt criticised the severity of the sentence. [20] Fahy was given two weeks to get his affairs in order and make provision for his dependent mother. [2] In this time he was taken ill and received hospital treatment for heart problems, further delaying the start of his sentence. [21] He also launched an appeal. He was taken from hospital to prison on 23 April 2007. [22]

Fahy remained a county councillor. The judge had suggested he should be disqualified under subsection 13(1)(m)(i) of the Local Government Act 2001 for "fraudulent or dishonest dealings affecting a local authority"; [2] [23] however section 13(2)(c) delays such disqualification pending appeals. [23] While section 18(4)(a) of the Local Government Act 2001 provides that councillors are deemed to have resigned if they fail to attend meetings for six months, section 18(4)(b)(ii) allows the council to make an exception where the absence was "in good faith for another reason [besides illness]". [23] [24] The council decided not to move against him pending his appeal. [25] On the register of panel electors for the 2007 Seanad election, his address was listed as "c/o Mr. Daniel J. Scannell, Governor, Castlerea Prison, Harristown, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon"; [26] he is believed to be the first person to vote from prison in the Seanad elections. [27] Fahy received the full annual representative pay allowance of €16,600 for the year 2007, although his conference expenses were only €3,700, for conferences attended prior to his imprisonment. [28]

Quashing of conviction and subsequent career

On 28 November 2007, the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that evidence that Fahy had claimed to have been offered €3.8m for a field was irrelevant and thus inadmissible; and further that it was prejudicial as it did not note that the field had been inherited, and thus allowed the inference that "wealth apparently so disproportionate to his income and station in life was not acquired honestly." [14] The court quashed Fahy's conviction, released him on bail, and ordered a retrial. [14] [29] Senator Terry Leyden was quoted as "delighted" with the decision. [29] At the retrial, two charges were dropped; on 10 December 2008, Fahy was found not guilty on four charges and guilty on one charge of obtaining the use or benefit of €7,055 from Galway County Council by false pretences. [18] He was sentenced to time served of seven months, and fined €30,000. [18] He launched another appeal, [18] and on 31 May 2011 the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled his conviction was unsafe, with Justice Adrian Hardiman saying "the evidence before the court was completely different from the case made by the State". [15] No retrial was ordered. [15] The Daily Mail reported Fahy was considering suing the state. [30]

Fahy's mother Mai, a Cumann na mBan veteran, died aged 99 on 23 December 2008. [31] [32] Fahy was reelected to Galway county council in the 2009 local elections, topping the poll in the Loughrea local electoral area (LEA). [33] In October 2009, a man was convicted of attempting to extort €5,000 from Fahy by claiming to have tapes of politicians planning to oust or murder Fahy. [34] Fahy was re-elected at the 2014 local elections, to Galway county council and the new subsidiary Loughrea municipal district council. [35] He said afterwards he was considering rejoining Fianna Fáil. [35]

Fahy ran as an independent in Galway East in the 2016 general election, receiving 5.2% of the first-preference vote to finish eighth of the ten candidates. [36] He rejoined Fianna Fáil in 2018, and at the time of his death had been selected to run for the party in Gort/Kinvara LEA in the May 2019 local elections. [7]

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References

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  29. 1 2 Retrial ordered in Galway Cllr fraud case RTÉ, 28 November 2007
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