Josephine Duffy, the former Monaghan county registrar who is involved in a controversial e-voting machine storage deal, has admitted she “coerced” her nephew into building a shed which won a €542,000 contract.
Despite being in charge of finding storage for the voting machines, Duffy had claimed she was not personally involved in the process that led to Martin Duffy, her nephew, being chosen in 2004 to store 288 units at an annual cost of €21,685 for 25 years.
But in an interview recorded earlier this year, Duffy suggests she asked for the warehouse to be built.
The admission raises fresh questions about the validity and independence of any tender process undertaken in 2004 to find storage space in Monaghan.
According to the registrar, five other companies tendered for the contract but were refused because their facilities were inadequate.
She has said her nephew’s building, which is the subject of a planning investigation, was the most suitable and that the contract was reached between her solicitors and her nephew’s legal representatives, implying she was not involved.
But in an interview for a radio programme that has not been aired, Duffy shows the shed in Scotshouse to a reporter and is asked: “What was this building used for?”
She replied: “It wasn’t. I coerced him into building it for me. He’s not very happy with me.” Her nephew has been identified publicly as the owner of the contract.
Duffy, who has recently retired as county registrar in Monaghan, refused to explain the comment last week, on the grounds that her solicitor has told her not to speak about the e-voting contract.