Flynn and councillors join Ahern in facing FF axe

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is to move next week to expel former taoiseach Bertie Ahern from the party following the damning Mahon Tribunal report.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is to move next week to expel former taoiseach Bertie Ahern from the party following the damning Mahon Tribunal report.

Moves will also be made to kick former minister Pádraig Flynn and three former councillors out of the party following the planning corruption inquiry’s conclusions.

Mr Martin announced the measures following a meeting of the party’s office board last night.

He said the claims against Mr Ahern about his finances and how he received them while in public office were “extremely serious”.

He said that the receipt by a senior officeholder of large amounts of money which the inquiry found was of unclear origins and the failure to give a credible explanation needed an “unequivocal response”.

Mr Ahern failed to tell the truth when accounting for over £215,000 lodged to various bank accounts connected to him.

In damning findings, the report said that “much of the explanation provided by Mr Ahern as to the source of the substantial funds… was deemed by the tribunal to have been untrue”.

The tribunal rejected Mr Ahern’s infamous claims that friends had organised “whiparounds” and loans to help him out of financial difficulties after his marital separation.

Mr Martin last night said: “Accordingly, I will propose a motion to expel him as a member of Fianna Fáil at the special meeting of national executive. We are writing to Mr Ahern to inform him of this decision.”

Mr Martin said it was a matter of “profound” and “personal” regret the extent to which Mr Ahern fell short of the standard of behaviour which was expected of the holders of high office.

Mr Ahern had betrayed the trust placed in him by this country and this party, he added.

Mr Martin said that although the events in the Mahon Report in the main occurred about 20 years ago, they were still important and needed to be addressed.

A meeting of the Fianna Fáil national executive will be held next Friday where specific proposals will be tabled on the fallout from the findings.

There were two abstentions at the party meeting last night, with Senator Mary White and party member Kathryn Byrne deciding not to vote.

The report also found that ex-environment minister Padraig Flynn had accepted for himself a sum of £50,000 that was given to him by developer Tom Gilmartin in 1989.

FF will now also move to expel the former EU commissioner from the party.

Mr Martin said of Mr Flynn: “That behaviour on his part was a disgrace and betrayed the trust that the Irish electorate had placed in him.”

Mr Martin will also move to expel three former councillors from the party, with the motions against GV Wright, Finbar Hanrahan, and Don Lydon being brought at next week’s meeting.

Mr Martin added: “None are still public representatives, but their conduct was unbecoming a member of Fianna Fáil and consequently I am proposing motions of expulsion against those who remain members of the party and against whom negative findings have been made in this report.”

Mr Martin said the FF councillors who took corrupt payments for making planning decisions had not only debased the planning process, but had also debased the party and helped undermine public trust in local politics.

“I condemn their actions unreservedly.”

FF has also decided to recommend to its ard comhairle that there should be a “root and branch review” of the party in Dublin Central, Bertie Ahern’s former constituency.

If it is passed, all functions performed for the branch there will be transferred to the party’s general secretary.

This will also include the transfer of all assets held there, including St Luke’s, the famed former constituency office of Mr Ahern’s.


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