Ahern facing tribunal

Corruption: it hasn't gone away!

"You guys make the mafia look like fucking monks" Tom Gilmartin, June 1989, speaking after being approached by a Fianna Fail figure for 5 million.

After five years of anticipation, builder and property developer Tom Gilmartin marched in to the Mahon Tribunal this week with potentially enough ammunition to rock this Government to its foundations and severely damage some of the most senior Fianna Fail politicians including the Teflon Taoiseach himself Bertie Ahern.

By Michael Murphy

Gilmartin alleges that in June of 1989 he gave Padraig Flynn a cheque for 50,000 to be given to Fianna Fail. While Flynn accepts he received the money, it mysteriously never found its way to Fianna Fail. It has since been revealed that half of this money was invested in an off-shore bank account to avoid paying tax. This was organized by Beverly Cooper Flynn TD who at the time worked for National Irish Bank. In that same year Liam Lawler also received 57,500 in a "political donation" from Gilmartin.

The real issues at stake in this phase of the Mahon Tribunal is just how far corruption went in Fianna Fail at the time and how many senior figures received money from this developer?

In 1989 Gilmartin says he met with several leading Fianna Fail figures in Leinster House, amongst them, Bertie Ahern, Charles Haughey, Ray Mc Sharry, Ray Burke, Liam Lawlor, Brian Lenihan Snr, Gerry Collins, Seamus Brennan and Albert Reynolds and the meeting was attended briefly by Mary O'Rourke. A who's who of the most powerful political figures of the time. After this meeting Gilmartin was approached in the corridor and asked for 5 million donation to Fianna Fail. He refused, comparing Fianna Fail to the mafia. He was told "he could end up in the Liffey for a comment like that". This sounds like something out of a Godfather movie.

If Gilmartin is telling the truth there could be irreparable damage done to this government particularly Bertie Ahern who has had a bout of amnesia in relation to his dealings with Gilmartin. Just one more reason to get rid of this rotten Government.

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This article is from the March 2004 edition of Socialist Voice.

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