Saturday 10 December 2016

Political leaders tell Moriarty to hurry up with report

Michael Brennan Political Correspondent

Published 17/06/2010 | 05:00

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen and the leaders of all political parties have demanded that the final report of the Moriarty Tribunal be finished "as soon as possible".

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Judge Michael Moriarty had written to the Oireachtas last month indicating his preference for breaking his long-awaited final report into two sections.

But the letter co-signed this week by Mr Cowen, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, Green Party leader John Gormley and Sinn Fein Dail leader Caoimghin O Caolain rejected this request.

"From our viewpoint, we are, naturally, anxious that the tribunal's work be completed as soon as possible consistent with its mandate and we feel sure that the public shares this view," the party leaders wrote.

The awarding of the second mobile phone licence to the Esat Digifone group in 1996 when Michael Lowry was communications minister, has been the subject of a protracted inquiry by the tribunal.

Judge Moriarty had planned to release a report on the "money trail" involving Mr Lowry and then to publish a report into the awarding of the second mobile phone licence to the Esat Digifone group at a later stage.

All of the party leaders had met earlier this month to discuss the request made by Judge Moriarty to publish his final report in two parts. Their letter to him said they appreciated his decision to provide an account of the progress made towards completing the work of the tribunal, set up in 1997. "We note the factors you mention that have impacted on the duration of the tribunal, your summary of the state of the completion of the tribunal's work and the issues that currently arise."

Delayed

The factors impacting on the tribunal include the enforced absence of one of its three senior counsel, John Coughlan, who is on extended sick leave. It has also been delayed by legal challenges and by the requirement to call witnesses to clear up issues about what advice the Attorney General's office provided about the awarding of the second mobile phone licence.

It emerged earlier this month that Mr Cowen had met Judge Moriarty after a request from the judge.

Mr Gilmore and Mr Kenny had publicly expressed their desire for the Moriarty Tribunal to produce a single final report at the earliest possible date.

Irish Independent

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