News Irish News

Monday 27 January 2020

Mahon: Bertie’s brother leaps to defence, attacks Martin

Fianna Fail party member Aine Brady leaves Leinster House in Dublin after late talks by the party over the fate of former Taoiseach and party leader Bertie Ahern. Photo: PA
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern speaks as he leaves the Mahon Tribunal in Dublin. The long-awaited final report of Ireland's Mahon tribunal, the State's longest running corruption inquiry, is to be published today. Photo: PA
Fianna Fail TD Dara Callery leaves Leinster House in Dublin after late talks by the party over the fate of former Taoiseach and party leader Bertie Ahern. Photo: PA
Former EU Commissioner and environment minister Padraig Flynn, leaves the Mahon tribunal in Dublin. Photo: PA
Bertie Ahern reporters

BERTIE Ahern’s brother Noel today accused Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin of using the Mahon Tribunal findings to build his own media image and urged him to "hasten slowly".

Questioning Mr Martin’s motivation in proposing to have the former Taoiseach expelled from the party, he said: “There might be an accusation of new leader, here we are, trying to show how macho and decisive he is and to use this to stake his claim as the new leader of Fianna Fail.”

Former Fianna Fail TD and Minister of State, Noel said: “I don’t know what the mad rush is?”

However he refused, when pressed on Morning Ireland on RTE Radio, to say whether he will stay in Fianna Fail if Bertie is expelled by the party next week.

He said the family was pleased that the Tribunal, which reported yesterday after 15 years, had found Bertie not guilty of political corruption and that he did not receive money from developer Owen O’Callaghan.

Urging Mr Martin to reflect on matters he said: “This is Dublin. This is Fianna Fail 2012. We have rules, regulations and procedures. We need to move slowly and do things in accordance with that.”

Mr Martin last night revealed plans to expel former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern from the party for "betraying the trust" placed in him by the country.

The move comes after the damning findings of the Mahon Tribunal which reported that Bertie had been untruthful about IR£165,000 in his accounts and that corruption affected every level of government from cabinet ministers to local councillors during the two decades Fianna Fail was Ireland’s politically dominant party.

Mr Martin is also seeking to expel former Fianna Fail minister and European Commissioner Padraig Flynn, who was found to have "wrongly and corruptly" accepted an IR£50,000 political donation.

He needs the backing of two-thirds of the members of Fianna Fail's national executive to expel Mr Ahern, Mr Flynn and others from the party.

But in an embarrassing blow to him, it emerged he didn't have the unanimous support of the Fianna Fail officer board for the expulsion.

Fianna Fail's newly-elected vice-presidents Mary White and Kathryn Byrne both abstained on the vote.

Bertie Ahern, who was not available for comment today, issued a statement last night said he was pleased to have been vindicated on not taking a bribe, but he was “incredulous” at the Tribunal’s findings rejecting the evidence of friends who loaned him money.

Describing the findings as “objectionable and inaccurate, he said: “I have never received a corrupt payment and I have never done anything to demean any office I have held.

“I truly regret if this has caused any confusion. All of these issues arose in a period when my family and professional situations were rapidly changing and I made the best decisions I could.

“I never made a political decision in return for a payment.”

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News