Brennan may sue paper over bill claims

TRANSPORT Minister Seamus Brennan is considering legal action against the

Sunday Independent after the newspaper yesterday repeated allegations about an alleged unpaid £5,000 brandy and cigar bill with the airport authority, Aer Rianta.

Sources close to Mr Brennan last night indicated he is taking legal advice as Aer Rianta rejected new details on the source of the allegations. On Friday it emerged that two separate inquiries had exonerated the Fianna Fáil veteran of involvement in the alleged incident which dates back to the late 1980s or the early 1990s when Mr Brennan was also minister for transport.

The newspaper yesterday reported that Aer Rianta chief executive John Burke confirmed that 5,000 worth of whiskey, brandy and cigars was sent to Mr Brennan’s department and that an unpaid bill was sent to the minister. The newspaper further claimed that an Aer Rianta spokesman said these allegations had been confirmed at senior executive level with Mr Burke informing the company chairman, Noel Hanlon, by telephone.

But Aer Rianta chief executive John Burke yesterday denied he confirmed any such story to Sunday Independent political editor Jody Corcoran, who wrote both reports.

“This allegation was not put to Mr Burke, or to anybody else in Aer Rianta before being published in the Sunday Independent. If it had, he would have refuted it totally,” a company spokesman said. The Aer Rianta spokesman, James Morrissey, accused the Sunday Independent of failing to substantiate an appalling allegation against a Government minister.

Mr Morrissey said the newspaper had failed to substantiate the allegations it had made a week earlier and added the report’s author had also identified a senior Fianna Fáil politician as his main informant.

The two separate inquiries, one by Aer Rianta and one by the Transport Department secretary general, Julie O’Neill, found no evidence to support the initial allegation about the unpaid whiskey, brandy and cigars bill first made in the Sunday Independent on November 23. Yesterday the author of both stories, Jody Corcoran, insisted he was standing over everything he wrote and that the substance and detail of the story had been confirmed by Aer Rianta. He rejected claims he did not contact Aer Rianta or Mr Burke about the allegations before the story was published.

Mr Brennan could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

But a source indicated he was taking legal advice and considering his next move. The source said the allegations could not be allowed to continue.

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.