Tuesday 28 March 2017

Elections cast doubt on Mahon report publication

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

THE publication date of the Mahon Tribunal report has been cast into doubt by the looming presidential election and by-election.

The final report of the long-running Planning Tribunal was expected to be published in the next 10 days, given that the Dail returns tomorrow.

However, if the report does not appear by the end of September, then it will be dragged into the presidential election campaign.

And there are some doubts in political circles over whether the tribunal judges will publish their report before October 27 -- which is polling day for the presidency, the Dublin West by-election and two referenda.

The report's findings on the personal finances of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are keenly anticipated.

The Tribunal judges, Alan Mahon, Mary Faherty and Gerald Keys, have been finishing off the report

It is believed the judges had seven outstanding issues to resolve between them in their findings.

Although Fianna Fail is not running a presidential candidate, the Tribunal judges are understood to be wary of being accused of interfering with the political process.

In that case, the Tribunal report may not appear until November.

Meanwhile, the Moriarty Tribunal is expected to be finally closed for business by the middle of October.

But the bill for legal fees for witnesses and third parties is expected to top €250m.

Tribunal Judge Michael Moriarty is currently considering applications for costs to be paid.

Mr Moriarty is expected to report by the middle of October on who is entitled to have their costs covered by the State.

The bill for third-party costs is expected to be in the region of €250m-€300m.

Irish Independent

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