Gardaí may probe corrupt payments

Former minister Pádraig Flynn and Cork developer Owen O’Callaghan could face a Garda investigation after the Mahon Tribunal found they had received or made corrupt payments.

These findings — along with similar findings against 11 former and serving councillors — will now be examined by the gardaí and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday said that the Government “will refer” the 3,270-page report to the Garda Commissioner, the DPP, the Revenue Commissioners and to the Standards in Public Office Commission.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan refused to comment on the report yesterday.

It is likely he will ask a senior officer — such as an assistant commissioner — to examine the report and gather a team of senior detectives to see if a criminal investigation should be launched.

He might also forward a copy of the report to the Criminal Assets Bureau, which has already brought charges of corruption against politicians and businessmen arising out of previous evidence which emerged in the Mahon Tribunal.

It will be some time before it is known whether any criminal investigation or prosecution will arise.

The tribunal found that Padraig Flynn “wrongly and corruptly” sought £50,000 from developer Tom Gilmartin which was supposed to be for the benefit of Fianna Fáil.

It said the money was actually used for “his personal benefit” and in part paid for the purchase of a farm in Co Mayo.

It said Mr Flynn sought the money to “ease or remove obstacles” faced by Mr Gilmartin regarding his Quarryvale proposals.

In relation to Owen O’Callaghan, the tribunal found: “Mr O’Callaghan was aware of, and actively engaged in, facilitating the corrupt disbursement of substantial sums of money to politicians by Mr Dunlop in the period 1991 and 1993.”

It said it “rejected” the often repeated evidence of Mr O’Callaghan that he was unaware lobbyist Frank Dunlop was using money he gave him to pay off councillors.

The tribunal said it was satisfied Mr O’Callaghan provided £80,000 to Mr Dunlop in 1991 in the “full knowledge” it would be used for “corruptly paying councillors”.

In addition, the tribunal “was satisfied that Mr O’Callaghan personally made corrupt payments totalling £119,950 (or otherwise authorised such payments through his companies) to certain politicians for the purposes of ensuring their continued support and assistance for the rezoning of the Quarryvale lands”.

More in this section