A barrister representing Donegal Councillor John O'Donnell has acknowledged that "the demarcation lines between his role as a businessman and a public representative were blurred".

Mark O'Connell was referring to the councillor's dealings with an undercover reporter that were broadcast on an RTÉ Investigates programme.

He said the lines were "blurred" but this was as a result of "negligence and nothing more than that." He said that councillor O'Donnell did not seek or accept money in this case.

Mark O'Connell, representing councillor O'Donnell, made his comments as his client was before the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPOC) today facing counts of breaching ethics legislation.

A complaint was made by Donegal County Council against him to SIPOC following the broadcast of the RTÉ Investigations Unit programme Standards in Public Office in December 2015.

Mr O'Donnell was secretly recorded on camera during the undercover investigation where a researcher, using the name Nina Carlson, posed as a representative of an investment company interested in possible wind farm ventures.

Audio and video recordings of conversations between the Independent Councillor and the undercover researcher have been played at the hearing.

In the recordings Ms Carlson said the company she was representing had no experience of investing in Ireland and she was seeking assistance with the planning process from the councillor

Mr O'Donnell said "we would need to work very quietly on this" as he is a public representative.

He offered to work "tirelessly" on behalf of the investors but stressed that he would have to be paid through a business partner as he did not want to be seen to be associated with a controversial wind-farm.

At one stage during the recording, Mr O'Donnell told Ms Carlson, "I'm a mover and a shaker".

Mr O'Donnell did not give evidence at today's hearing before the six-member commission, which is chaired by Mr Justice Daniel O'Keefe.

His barrister Mark O'Connell said that the message to be taken away by the Commission was that his client was a businessman seeking to promote a commercial project in Donegal that he thought would be commercially viable and he had an interest in it.

He said that Mr O'Donnell was "not intentional or reckless in his regard for the demarcation lines between his roles."

He said his overall intention was to be as open as he could.

Mr O'Connell acknowledged that "the demarcation lines between his roles as a businessman and a public representative were blurred" and this was as a result of "negligence and nothing more than that."

He said that councillor O'Donnell did not seek or accept money in this case. He added that he had already apologised for the demarcation of the lines between his roles of businessman and politician.

He said that financial institutions have withdrawn support from Mr O'Donnell as a result of this case and he has been through an insolvency process. He added that he has also been subject to online abuse.

Earlier, James Doherty, barrister for SIPOC, read out some correspondence between SIPO and John O'Donnell and press releases issued by the Independent Councillor prior to and after the RTÉ Investigates programme was broadcast.

Quoting a press release issued in December 2015, Mr O'Donnell said it was his understanding that he was being contacted firstly as a businessman and secondly as a councillor.

In the press releases he said that to say he was disappointed in RTÉ's attempts to entrap him would be an understatement.

After reading out passages of the ethics legislation and code of conduct, Mr Doherty said: "It appears to a very great extent that councillor O'Donnell allowed his public responsibilities to be conflated to a significant degree with his personal business interests."

He read out a number of transcripts of phone conversations between Nina Carlson and Councillor O'Donnell which he alleges are proof that Mr O'Donnell was aware what he was doing.

He said the apparent conflation of the public obligations he has as an elected official and the business interests he had are very clear.

The SIPO commission will deliver its submissions to Mr O'Donnell's legal team by 5 October for consideration by 12 October.

The SIPO commission will then decide if Mr O'Donnell contravened the ethical framework laid out in the Local Government Act 2001.

The Commission is made up of former Fine Gael TD Jim O'Keefe; Peter Finnegan, Clerk of Dáil Éireann; Seamus McCarthy, the Comptroller and Auditor General; Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe; Peter Tyndall, the Ombudsman; and Martin Groves, the Clerk of Seanad Éireann.