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Sunday 17 December 2017

FF leader says findings do enormous damage to nation

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

THE findings of the Moriarty Tribunal do "enormous reputational damage" to the country, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin told the Dail yesterday.

Fianna Fail also signalled last night it would be targeting Environment Minister Phil Hogan in the coming days over his evidence to the tribunal.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said the conclusions drawn in the report were "very, very serious" and amounted to "corporate and political corruption".

The Fianna Fail leader later accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of trying to "suppress" the report's findings by not responding to it immediately.

Mr Martin also criticised Mr Kenny for not taking questions yesterday with Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte responding instead.

"The findings have grave implications for the State and the taxpayer and represent a damning indictment on the collective decision taken by the then Government in the awarding of the mobile telephone licence and in the process that led to its award," he said.

Mr Martin said a strong link was made in the report between "a pattern of significant conspicuous financial support to Fine Gael" and the decision arrived at regarding the licence.

"Would the Taoiseach be able to explain his own personal level of knowledge of that culture and of the fundraising activities that went on? Six members of the current Government sat around the Cabinet table when that most valuable licence was awarded," he said.

Mr Kenny repeatedly said he and the Government would have to read the report first before responding.

The Taoiseach said the report had been "14 years in the making" and was completed at a cost of a "considerable amount of money".

"It deserves to be read seriously, which I intend to do. There are lessons to be drawn from it," he said.

Irish Independent

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