Mahon final report expected to urge legislative changes to planning laws

The long-awaited final report from the Mahon Tribunal is expected to be published today with recommendations on the need for legislative changes to planning laws.

The report into allegations of corruption in planning matters and payments by Judge Alan Mahon is due to be sent to the Dáil before being published online.

Fifteen years after its establishment, and with costs estimated at €250m or more, the fifth and final report is expected to focus attention on former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, whose finances were probed by the inquiry.

Mr Ahern, his ex-colleagues, the Government and political parties, have been braced for months for the findings.

Within months of the scandal over his financial affairs becoming public and his subsequent explanations, Mr Ahern resigned as taoiseach, saying it had become impossible for him to continue in office.

He remains a member of Fianna Fáil and has always protested his innocence.

Legal and planning sources last night said the report was expected to make recommendations for legislative changes. These are expected to focus on the need for oversight of county or city development plans and how local authorities approve zoning. There were also suggestions Judge Mahon may address the need for sources of political funding to be made public.

The inquiry was sparked by cash for votes accusations in Dublin councils in the early 1990s, which spread to include big hitters in the Fianna Fáil party. TDs, ministers and former taoisigh gave evidence. The inquiry sat in public for more than 900 days over 11 years, hearing from 400 witnesses and examining 130,000 pages of documents.

Speaking yesterday, Kathleen Lynch, the junior health minister, said lessons could be learned from Mahon.

“Knowing what happened is important. It does all gel together, the whole notion of ‘we’re in government (and) we can do what we like’. That notion of having responsibility to the citizen went out the door, and that can never again happen,” she added.


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