Former government minister Ray Burke was today jailed for six months for two tax-dodging offences.
Burke, former foreign affairs and justice minister, was jailed at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after he lodged false tax returns failing to declare income of almost €200,000.
Judge Desmond Hogan told the packed court that a custodial sentence was the only option as the former minister had breached the public’s trust.
Burke, 61, from Griffith Downs, Drumcondra, North Dublin, admitted in July, 2004, knowingly or wilfully furnishing incorrect information during a tax amnesty of 1993 by failing to declare income of £151,980.
He also pleaded guilty to knowingly or wilfully furnishing incorrect information to the Inspector of Taxes in December, 2003, by failing to declare income of £24,038.
Judge Hogan said that Burke had abused his special position as a member of the Irish Parliament when he committed the offences.
“Under all the circumstances a custodial sentence is appropriate. However, I do not believe it should be a long one having regard to the mitigating factors,” the judge said.
He imposed two six-month jail terms on the former minister for each offence and he ordered the terms to run concurrently.
In November, 2003, Burke was served by the Criminal Assets Bureau with a tax demand of over €2m for income it claimed he received but did not declare to the revenue commissioners.
CAB has been investigating the former minister since September, 2002, shortly after a report from the planning tribunal found he had received corrupt payments of almost €250,000. The acquisition of his home in North Dublin was also found to be corrupt.
Burke, known as Rambo for his gung-ho political style, was visibly shaking as Judge Hogan prepared to read his report.
Dressed in a dark suit and brightly coloured tie he edged to the front of the packed courtroom.