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Fermanagh and Omagh District Council calls in watchdog over Twitter leak

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Complaint: Mary Garrity

Complaint: Mary Garrity

Complaint: Mary Garrity

A watchdog has been asked to investigate a mystery Fermanagh and Omagh councillor who posted confidential information on Twitter.

Members of the press were asked to leave a meeting of the council after concerns were raised over a social media post which was described as being taken from confidential information not discussed in public.

A councillor is suspected of posting information on Twitter, but both the content of the Tweet and the identity of the councillor remain unknown.

The issue was raised by SDLP councillor Mary Garrity, who said: "Leaking of information out of this council on confidential matters has been a concern, especially in recent times.

"It's affecting members here as well as officers and general members of the public.

I am proposing council officers investigate this and take any action deemed necessary SDLP councillor Mary Garrity

"Last week, at a special meeting, a tweet appeared on social media. This tweet related to information at the meeting in which matters were discussed in confidence.

"This could be a breach of the code. I have brought this to the attention of the chief executive.

"As a corporate body, I think we are duty-bound to show contempt for this.

"I am proposing council officers investigate this and take any action deemed necessary."

Council chief executive Alison McCullagh said: "If there is a potential breach of the code, it wouldn't be the council or officers who investigate, it would be the (Local Government) Commissioner."

Ms McCullagh confirmed she was aware of the post in question but added it was a matter which required the council to refer it to the commissioner, as opposed to officers.

Independent councillor Donal O'Cofaigh asked whether the councillor in question had been informed about the tweet.

Ms McCullagh said members were aware of their social media activity and added: "I can confirm information contained within the tweet was not disclosed in public."

After further discussing the matter behind closed doors, the chief executive told reporters: "It has been agreed the matter should be referred to the Local Government Commissioner for Standards for investigation as a potential breach of the code of conduct."

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