Monday 5 December 2016

Davis insists dealings with O'Brien were 'above board'

Barry Duggan

Published 10/10/2011 | 05:00

Mary Davis (left) with
bookmaker Ellen Martin at
Limerick Racecourse
yesterday
Mary Davis (left) with bookmaker Ellen Martin at Limerick Racecourse yesterday
Presidential candidate Michael D Higgins plays Colm McEntee at conkers during canvassing in Airfield, Dundrum, Dublin
Fine Gael's presidential hopeful Gay Mitchell leaves RTE studios yesterday after being interviewed on 'This Week'

INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Mary Davis insisted yesterday she acted with full integrity when serving on the board of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) regarding its dealings with businessman Denis O'Brien.

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Ms Davis, who works for Special Olympics Ireland -- as does Mr O'Brien -- said all professional dealings and discussions regarding his media interests were completely above board.

She voted on three key decisions concerning his ownership of media in the country while on the board of the BCI between 2008 and 2009.

"There was no conflict of interest at all. I have acted on the board of the BCI with full integrity and taken full responsibility at all times," Ms Davis said.

Speaking at Limerick Racecourse where she was canvassing racing enthusiasts, Ms Davis said there was "absolutely" no conflict of interest.

Asked whether she supported her Special Olympics colleague at BCI meetings, Ms Davis said all decisions came about through "general consensus" and following a "thorough analysis".

"I have always acted with integrity and due responsibility in relation to any decision I have taken either with the BCI or any of the boards or organisations that I have sat on down through the years," Ms Davis said.

She said she took legal advice in 2008 before taking part in BCI decisions regarding Mr O'Brien's interests in Irish media.

"I wanted to be doubly sure -- that was it. At that stage I had moved from being chief executive of Special Olympics Ireland to managing director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia, so I just wanted to be sure and I did take legal advice," she said.

Difficult

Apart from a €2,500 contribution from Mr O'Brien to her presidential campaign, Ms Davis said she had not been supported by him in any other way.

She said that as an Independent candidate, it could be difficult to raise campaign finance.

"I'm running a very grassroots campaign. I'm looking for small donations from a large number of people. There is a golf classic on today for me in Dublin. I accept funding from whoever is willing to give within the range set out," Ms Davis said.

Irish Independent

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