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Thursday 21 November 2019

Gardai to complete review 'within month'

Tom Brady Security Editor

A GARDA review of the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal to establish if there is a basis for a criminal investigation is expected to be completed within a month.

The assessment of the findings is being carried out by a small team of gardai, led by the head of the Criminal Assets Bureau, Det Chief Supt Eugene Corcoran.

The team has been tasked by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan with studying the 2,400-page report and examining the witness statements, documentation presented before the tribunal and the conclusions and observations of Mr Justice Michael Moriarty.

It will then produce a report for the commissioner with a recommendation on whether the report warrants a criminal investigation. This is likely to be ready before the end of April.

Chief Supt Corcoran is also a former senior member of the national fraud bureau and a legal officer for the force.

If an investigation is ordered, it will be carried out by either the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) or the National Fraud Bureau.

Mr Callinan said last week that gardai were confined at present to a review of the Moriarty Report and it would be premature to describe it as an investigation.

A statement from the Garda last night said: "Gardai continue to study and assess the report of the tribunal with a view to establishing whether there are any matters, therein, which may require criminal investigation."

Gardai are aware that, under the terms of the tribunal's legislation, they are prevented from using any of the evidence given to Moriarty unless they can establish independent verification of the details. However, they will be able to use the findings to help them plot a way forward and the evidence could also be used as a guide in seeking the production in court of other matters, such as documentation.

CAB carried out a criminal investigation into the fallout from the Flood/Mahon Tribunal and this resulted in a number of criminal prosecutions that were based largely on a series of incriminating statements made by former government press secretary Frank Dunlop during interviews with its officers.

Former minister Michael Lowry and businessman Denis O'Brien, who both featured prominently in the findings, have said they welcomed the decision to refer the report to the gardai and the DPP.

Irish Independent

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