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Friday 19 October 2018

Dunne opens up about Haughey 'flaws'

BUSINESSMAN Ben Dunne says he feels like a "bloody eejit" for causing the set up of the Tribunals but says he is still paying a big price for his actions.

The former coke addict whose donations to Charles Haughey kicked off a chain of events that would lead to the establishment of the inquiries says he wishes he could turn back the clock.

"Sometimes in life, there's a temptation not to tell the truth. But, when you've been through what I've been through, the best remedy is just to tell the truth. I found myself with two options: I could run away or I could tell the truth.

"I suppose that it was my actions that caused the setting up of the Tribunals in the first place. That makes me feel like a complete bloody eejit.

"If only I had been more orthodox, more conventional, things could have been different -- but I wasn't. And I'm paying a big price for it today. I've hurt the Irish people, my own brother and sister, Dunnes Stores, myself and my family. That's enough to be going on with."

The gym boss says he was in awe of Charlie Haughey when he agreed to fund his lavish lifestyle.

"With all his faults, there were still good points to his character. I found him to be very interesting and very funny -- but with a flawed character.

"To take millions of pounds for himself in secret -- that's a flaw for a Taoiseach. In fact, that's about as big a flaw as you can get, I suppose," he admits.

"I suppose I was a bit in awe of him. You don't often get the chance to meet a Prime Minister. That impressed me -- there's no point denying it -- but I didn't go to his funeral because I thought it would be a media circus if I went."

In a no-holds-barred interview for Ryan Confidential to be screened on RTE TV later this week, the repentant tycoon warns how dabbling with cocaine can spiral out of control.

"There was no one made me use drugs -- no one except me. It was my responsibility. It's as simple as taking the first line. You take that line, and then you're heading for skid row -- or at least you are if you're in a certain percentage of people, like me.

"I was lucky not to die from drugs. I enjoyed the first line -- and the fiftieth line. But, somewhere, you cross another sort of line. You begin to miss work, to keep secrets.

"Nobody knew what I was doing -- not my wife, not my family, not my friends. I was forced into secrecy, and I ended up out of my mind. In the end, I was bonkers."

'Ryan Confidential' is on RTE One at 10.15pm.on Thursday, September 20

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