Burke, Taoiseach and FF indicted, says Quinn

THE Flood Tribunal findings are a damning indictment of Ray Burke, the Taoiseach who appointed him, and the Fianna Fáil party which sustained him in political office, Labour leader Ruairi Quinn said last night.

The comments typified a robust reaction by all the opposition parties which immediately moved to highlight Mr Ahern and his current colleagues' associations with the former minister.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said the findings were a searing indictment of Mr Burke's reprehensible behaviour as a public representative, but he also questioned Mr Ahern's role in appointing the former Dublin North TD to high office in the first place: "It raises serious questions about the judgement and motivation of the Taoiseach in appointing Mr Burke to a senior and sensitive Cabinet position at a time when the Taoiseach knew that there were serious allegations against him."

Green Party leader Trevor Sargent parodied the celebrated evidence of key witness James Gogarty in asking if they would get a receipt: "The question now is: will we get a conviction? Ray Burke was not unique he was part of a greedy culture."

Mr Sargent strongly welcomed Justice Flood's interim report: "It is a vindication of my suspicions relating to dubious planning decisions made during the eighties and nineties in north County Dublin." Mr Sargent said Mr Burke was shown as both corrupt and greedy in this report and the answer to the next question was awaited from the Director of Public Prosecutions. "However the culture of greed and corruption which generated and sustained the Fianna Fáil flag-bearer in Dublin North over decades will not be ended until the practice of profiteering by individual developers and landowners who got agricultural land rezoned is changed."

Mr Quinn said the findings were unequivocal and clear and detailed a series of ongoing and corrupt payments to Mr Burke from a number of quarters: "They reveal a sordid and disgusting aspect of public life during the 1980s and 1990s. This report is just as devastating as the findings of Mr Justice McCracken in 1997. It was the Taoiseach who saw it fit to bring Ray Burke back from the political wilderness to which Albert Reynolds wisely confined him."

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