Martin: Evidence sufficient to pursue charges against officials

Micheál Martin has said evidence from the Mahon Report was sufficient enough to pursue charges against party officials.

Delivering his Dáil reply to the findings, the party leader said efforts should be made to retrieve a corrupt payment from former minister Pádraig Flynn among others.

He also hit out at other parties calling for inquiries into their own finances.

He questioned why the rising concern in the early 1990s did not lead to any investigation during either the Fianna Fáil and Labour government or the Fine Gael, Labour, and Democratic Left government.

“Planning in Dublin at this time was rotten to the core,” he said. “There was a systematic subversion of the planning process by some councillors willing to seek and accept payments in return for pushing through rezoning which they would otherwise have opposed. This was in turn a systematic subversion of the democratic system and a betrayal of the people of Co Dublin.”

The report showed how promoters of rezoning were networked in the council and had influence over decisions of many Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael councillors, he said.

He admitted former TD Liam Lawlor and former councillor Tom Hand appeared to effectively “shake down” people coming to the council with proposals. Both received corrupt payments.

Mr Martin said it was possible for authorities to take action, including against former members of his own party.

“I believe that the evidence uncovered by the tribunal and independently available to the DPP is more than sufficient for a number of people to face serious charges. I hope that this will be progressed urgently.”

Former minister Pádraig Flynn should be targeted for payments he took when in office, he said. “In relation to the £50,000 it should be received by the State through general proceedings against Mr Flynn. There is no excuse for the failure to confront Mr Flynn with this allegation at the time.”

The actions of former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who resigned this week, could also not be excused, he said, though the inquiry had not found him corrupt.

Fundraising attempts by another former taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, were wrong but legal, he noted.

However, Mr Martin queried why there had been no follow up to last year’s Moriarty Report, which showed a pattern of donations to Fine Gael by bidders for the State’s second mobile licence.

Mr Martin also queried why no inquiries were carried out before into the funding of the Workers’ Party, and allegations of “counterfeiting” and links to “continued racketeering” by the Official IRA.

Sinn Féin also had questions to answer over its history and historic role in “this island’s largest racketeering, kidnapping and bank-robbing network”, he said.


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