Fianna Fáil will not take action against ex-taoiseach Reynolds

Fianna Fáil will not take any action against Albert Reynolds, despite the Mahon Tribunal making adverse findings against him.

However, an internal party committee will analyse the Mahon report in full to consider what actions should be taken against other current members found to have acted inappropriately.

A “root and branch” reorganisation of the party structures in former taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s constituency will also take place.

The moves were agreed by the Fianna Fáil national executive at a three-hour meeting in Leinster House last night.

The meeting had originally been called to hear expulsion motions against six party members against whom the most serious findings were made by the tribunal.

However, the six in question — Bertie Ahern, Pádraig Flynn, GV Wright, Don Lydon, John Hannon and Finbarr Hanrahan — all resigned this week before being expelled.

Instead, the meeting discussed the findings by the tribunal made against other party members, including Mr Reynolds, who has been ill for some time.

The ex-taoiseach was unable to give evidence to the tribunal in 2008 because of what medical experts described as a “significant cognitive impairment”.

However, the report of the tribunal found Mr Reynolds, as taoiseach, abused power by seeking substantial donations to Fianna Fáil from property developer Owen O’Callaghan in 1993.

Despite that finding, Mr Reynolds was not among those against whom party leader Micheál Martin proposed disciplinary action.

The youth wing of the party, Ógra Fianna Fáil, suggested Mr Reynolds be expelled for “conduct unbecoming”.

However, the national executive last night decided no such action would be taken.

Following the meeting, party whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl said: “I think it was accepted by everybody present that, given that Albert had been considered by the tribunal to be so unwell as to be unable to give evidence, that it was not appropriate for us to make any comment about the former leader [or] to find anything by way of a failing on his part.

“And indeed… there would be a regret on the part of many people within the organisation that the tribunal itself made a comment about the former taoiseach, given the status of his health situation.”

However, a party committee will analyse the report in full to assess whether action is required against other current members cited by the report.

These will include former TD Charlie O’Connor and former senator Ann Ormonde, both of whom the tribunal found had accepted inappropriate payments.

The executive also agreed to a review and reorganisation of party structures in Mr Ahern’s former stronghold of Dublin Central, which will include the transfer of his powerbase, St Luke’s, to the party.


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