FORMER Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald's son, the businessman Mark FitzGerald, has provided potentially devastating information to the Moriarty Tribunal which Fine Ga...
FORMER Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald's son, the businessman Mark FitzGerald, has provided potentially devastating information to the Moriarty Tribunal which Fine Gael fear could cause serious damage to the party his father once led.
The Sunday Independent can reveal that Mr FitzGerald will be a star new witness when the Tribunal resumes this week.
Fine Gael sources yesterday claimed that Mr FitzGerald was "engaged in war" with the party after he was removed from the Board of Trustees by new leader Enda Kenny.
Mr FitzGerald refused to comment yesterday, but he denied that he had resigned from Fine Gael, with which he had been centrally involved.
It is understood that Mr FitzGerald is questioning a number of controversial fundraising events which were organised by Fine Gael in the 1990s.
He is also claiming that Michael Lowry made political representations on behalf of Ben Dunne which financially benefited the former supermarket tycoon. Mr Dunne owns Marlborough House, where the then State-owned Telecom Eireann was located. Mr Lowry is accused of pushing Mr Dunne's request for a rent increase.
Mr FitzGerald has also told the Tribunal of how he lobbied Mr Lowry and other senior Fine Gael figures on behalf of Denis O'Brien in relation to the second mobile telephone licence competition.
One of those other figures is Sean Donlon. Mr Donlon is a former Secretary General in the Department of Foreign Affairs, a former Irish ambassador to the US and a former adviser to John Bruton, when Mr Bruton led Fine Gael. Yesterday, Mr Donlon did not return a telephone call from the Sunday Independent.
Mr FitzGerald has given three statements to the tribunal in the last two weeks detailing his allegations.
Fine Gael sources claim that Mr FitzGerald, Chief Executive of the Sherry FitzGerald Group, has resigned from the party.
Yesterday, however, Mr FitzGerald denied that he had resigned, but refused to comment further. "I'm a businessman," he said. "If you want to talk about Sherry FitzGerald I will talk about that. I will not talk about anything else."
The Moriarty Tribunal sat in public for less than three minutes on Friday afternoon. It was adjourned after the Chairman ruled that evidence to be heard should proceed in closed session.
Counsel said this was in order to protect the privacy of those mentioned but who may ultimately have no involvement with the Tribunal's investigations.
It is understood that the Tribunal then issued an order on Eircom (formerly Telecom Eireann) for the provision of documents relating to the rent review secured by Mr Dunne.
For several months the tribunal has been examining Fine Gael's fundraising records at the party's Mount Street headquarters.
Its exhaustive investigation is understood to relate, at least in part, to the allegations made by Mr FitzGerald in relation to Fine Gael's fundraising activities.
The Tribunal has already heard details of transactions between 1995 and 1999 involving hundreds of thousands of pounds.
This relates to stg£147,000 which was given to Mr Lowry in late 1996 by the late David Austin, a businessman with the Jefferson Smurfit group and a senior Fine Gael fundraiser.