Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mahon highlights disturbing approach of former FF Ministers

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) said that the Mahon Tribunal Report highlights the deeply disturbing culture of Fianna Fáil in Government. Deputy Doherty specifically referred to comments made by senior Fianna Fáil Ministers criticising the Tribunal, while it was investigating the affairs of then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

“In his introduction, Judge Mahon specifically refers to how the Tribunal came under ‘sustained and virulent attack’ from a number of senior Government Ministers in 2007/2008 when it was inquiring into matters relating to Bertie Ahern.

“I agree wholeheartedly with Judge Mahon when he says that it was entirely inappropriate for members of the Government to launch partisan attacks against a Tribunal of Inquiry. I find it completely abhorrent that Fianna Fáil Cabinet Ministers would deem it appropriate to try to undermine the conduct of the Tribunal while it was inquiring into their then leader and Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.

“We know, for instance, that the current Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, criticised the way the Tribunal investigated what he described as ‘bizarre’ allegations made by Tom Gilmartin. Former Fianna Fáil Minister, Dermot Ahern, labelled the Tribunal’s questioning of Bertie Ahern as ‘astounding’. We also had the incredible statement from current TD and former Minister, Willie O’Dea, saying that he was waiting for the day the tribunal would start questioning what Bertie Ahern did with his First Communion money. Former Minister Dick Roche, meanwhile, saw fit to describe the Tribunal as ‘petty’ and ‘prurient’.

“These comments are even more shocking today than they were at the time. Given the Tribunal’s findings, do all of these current and former Fianna Fáil politicians stand over these statements?

“Judge Mahon draws the conclusion that the objective of these attacks was to erode the Tribunal’s independence and force its collapse. I believe the individuals involved should account for their actions. Some of those who were Cabinet Ministers at the time are members of the current Dáil; they should not remain silent on this issue.

“The Mahon Tribunal Report draws a line under the corrupt environment that polluted all levels of Government over the last couple of decades. All of the major political parties in this State must carefully study its contents. It will take some time to digest all of Judge Mahon’s findings and recommendations.
“I look forward to the report being scrutinised by the DPP and the Garda Commissioner, to establish whether any legal prosecutions can be brought.”

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