Top FF figures knew of Flynn £50k

Many people in the upper echelons of Fianna Fáil, including then taoiseach Albert Reynolds, were aware of a £50,000 donation to former minister Pádraig Flynn which was never put in Fianna Fáil’s coffers.

The tribunal also agreed that Mr Flynn received the cheque from developer Tom Gilmartin in Apr 1989 to “ease or remove obstacles” in relation to Gilmartin’s planned Quarryvale development.

A large portion of the £50,000 was used to fund the purchase of a farm in Co Mayo, a farm which was bought in Mrs Dorothy Flynn’s name.

The tribunal said that Mr Flynn had asked Tom Gilmartin to make a substantial donation to the Fianna Fáil party earlier that year.

They also agreed that the £50,000 which was provided to Mr Flynn was, as far as Mr Gilmartin was concerned, for Fianna Fáil and not for Mr Flynn’s personal use.

The tribunal also said it believed that the payee section of the cheque was left blank and was later filled in with “cash”.

The judges also said they believed Tom Gilmartin made the payment to “to create a level playing field” for himself and to avoid improper behaviour by public representatives.

They said they did not believe that Mr Gilmartin made the payment so Quarryvale could be given special tax designated status.

The tribunal also accepted that Mr Ahern was aware in June that year of the donation made to Mr Flynn for Fianna Fáil. The then minister became aware of the payment, the tribunal inferred, after he sought a donation for the party.

Later that year, Gilmartin also told Fianna Fáil national organiser, Sean Sherwin of the donation and the fact that Finbarr Hanrahan had also sought £100,000. Sherwin, in turn, told a Fianna Fáil fundraiser, Paul Kavanagh. The party’s financial controller, Sean Fleming was then told by Mr Kavanagh to examine where this cheque went to.

Most amazingly in 1992, the tribunal was satisfied that Mr Sherwin told Albert Reynolds of the missing cheque at a time when he was picking his cabinet.

None of them contacted Mr Flynn about the payment. It was only after media speculation that Bertie Ahern contacted him in 1998/1999.

Mr Flynn was elected to the Dáil in 1977 and over the next 16 years held several ministerial positions. He served as European commissioner from 1993 until 1999.

He receives annual net pension payments of €68,993 from his time as a TD and minister, but this does not include payments for his time as a European commissioner.

Pádraig Flynn: Key findings

* The Mahon Tribunal found the Fianna Fáil veteran had “wrongly and corruptly” sought a £50,000 payment from Tom Gilmartin in 1994 — used to buy a farm in Co Mayo in his wife Dorothy’s name.

* In its ruling, the tribunal said it was satisfied Mr Flynn requested Mr Gilmartin to make a substantial donation to Fianna Fáil in Apr 1989, and in return the then environment minister would ease or remove obstacles and difficulties over lands at Quarryvale where he wanted to build a shopping centre.

* It found Mr Gilmartin paid it under duress or coercion and that Mr Flynn wrongfully and corruptly sought the payment.

* The tribunal also found Mr Gilmartin had told Bertie Ahern about the payment in June 1989, and that former taoiseach Albert Reynolds knew about it in Feb 1992 as he selected his new cabinet.

* Party fundraisers and organisers were also aware. None contacted Mr Flynn about the payment, the tribunal found.



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