Robert Troy resigned yesterday as a minister in the government due to the clamour that had built up around his property interests.
He had admitted a number of failures on his part in relation to his rental properties, most of which were administrative in nature. He had, as he admitted himself, failed to ‘give the required due diligence’ to filling out some form or other and had got it wrong.
Failing to ‘give the required due diligence’ sounded like a phrase he was advised to use in describing his failure to fill out a form correctly. Not confidence inspiring for a junior minister with responsibility for a department well known for imposing form filling demands on small business owners.
No, the use of that absurd, overblown, meaningless phrase is not the biggest problem I had with Robert Troy.
My problem is with his going into the Dail and speaking in favour of more money from the State for the private rental accommodation assistances such as RAS and HAP and failing to declare his own property interests.
This, in my opinion, was a straightforward conflict of interest. And his interests should have been disclosed before speaking on the record and seeking to persuade others and influence public opinion.
I believe that he spoke on more than one occasion about private rental accommodation and the schemes in place to help tenants (and landlords). One failure may have been an occasion of ‘failing to give the required due diligence’.
Multiple failures is just not acceptable.
If you get up on your legs in the Dail as a legislator and a member of the government to speak on a topic and you have a personal, vested interest, come out and make it clear first.