The Donegal County Manager has rejected allegations that a so-called "Golden Circle" of corruption and planning irregularities operates within the Council.

Michael McLoone said in a statement to councillors that reputations had been "unjustifiably damaged" by the allegations made by a former Council official who was removed from his post two years ago in a controversy over land at Magheraroarty.

The allegations made by Gerard Convie, a former Senior Executive in the Council's planning department, were published in the Donegal Democrat.

The Minister for the Environment consented to his removal from office on foot of a file prepared by the County Manager, which he made public today.

Mr Convie had issued High Court proceedings challenging the move, but a settlement was reached out of court.

Michael McLoone told councillors today that the settlement was to have been closure for both parties.

Mr McLoone said in the statement that Mr Convie "has now chosen at this remove to publish allegations that a so-called "Golden Circle" of corruption, planning irregularities and the like operates at the highest levels within the council, that he essentially would not co-operate within that circle, and that provided the motivation and reasons why I (the county manager) sought consent to his removal from post. I totally reject this proposition".

Councillors have voted to back the County Manager. Mr McLoone said that Mr Convie should either identify those accused, detail the allegations and allow a response. If this does not happen, he said the "generalised, unsubstantiated but seriously damaging allegations" should be withdrawn.

Mr McLoone said any complaints would be scrupulously investigated and appropriate action would be taken where warranted.