Reynolds knew of payment to minister before re-appointment

Former taoiseach Albert Reynolds was told of a developer’s £50,000 payment to one of his ministers but failed to inquire of it and instead re-appointed the individual to cabinet, the inquiry found.

The money was given to then environment minister Padraig Flynn in 1989 by Sligo-born developer Tom Gilmartin, but was never passed on to Fianna Fáil.

A number of Fianna Fáil senior figures were informed of the £50,000 payment, including Mr Reynolds and Bertie Ahern, but nothing was inquired of Mr Flynn until the tribunal began in the late 1990s.

Mr Reynolds was forced to stop giving evidence during the long inquiry because of health reasons.

However, the inquiry concluded that Fianna Fáil national organiser Sean Sherwin told Mr Reynolds of the payment in 1992 while he was choosing his new cabinet.

This was just before Mr Reynolds reappointed Mr Flynn as minister for the environment.

The inquiry concluded that requests in 1993 from then taoiseach Albert Reynolds and Bertie Ahern, then minister for finance, seeking huge donations to Fianna Fáil from developer Owen O’Callaghan, were “entirely inappropriate, and was an abuse of political power and government authority”.

Mr O’Callaghan paid Fianna Fáil £80,000 in mid-1994 following the demands.

Mr Reynolds was also at the ministers’ meeting with Mr Gilmartin in early 1989 in Leinster House, after which the developer said he was approached by an unknown man who demanded a payment of £5m to an offshore account.

The tribunal was satisfied that Mr Reynolds was not the recipient of a £150,000 payment from Mr O’Callaghan on Mar 11, 1994, at a Cork fundraising dinner.

It also found that there was no evidence that Mr Reynolds had received a £40,000 payment from Mr O’Callaghan in connection with the Golden Island shopping centre development in Athlone.

The tribunal heard claims from Mr Gilmartin that Mr Reynolds had a role in his difficulties with the British revenue but these were found to be untrue. There was no evidence that the former taoiseach was involved in this.

There was also no evidence that Mr Reynolds blocked tax resignation for a development at Blanchardstown, as was originally claimed at the inquiry.

There was also no evidence to support Mr Gilmartin’s claim, that following a fundraising trip to the US by Mr Reynolds, that only a portion of funds collected were lodged to Fianna Fáil accounts and the remainder was put into offshore accounts in the Dutch Antilles and in Liechtenstein.

Albert Reynolds: Key findings

* Monarch Properties in late 1992 paid £5,000 to Albert Reynolds as a political donation for Fianna Fail. The payments were made as election contributions at a time when the company was trying to increase zoning on its Cherrywood lands.

* Mr Reynolds, along with other senior FF figures including Bertie Ahern, failed to quiz Pádraig Flynn about a £50,000 developer payment he received.

* Requests from Mr Reynolds and others in FF of Cork developer Owen O’Callaghan for donations were “entirely inappropriate, and was an abuse of political power and government authority”.



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