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Monday 20 November 2017

Padraig Flynn quits FF as Kenny puts pension probe on long finger

China's Vice President Xi Jinping greets Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Diaoyutai Guest House in Beijing
Fianna Fail vice president Lisa Chambers
Bertie Ahern pictured in Clontarf at the weekend reporters

THE Taoiseach Enda Kenny indicated today that the issue of withdrawing political pensions from politicians found guilty of corruption would not be first on the list for the forthcoming Constitutional Convention. He pointed out that it already had been tasked with issues to look at -- such as extending voting rights to Irish citizens abroad, and the length of the presidential term.

"The constitutional convention has a specific remit and will be tasked with dealing with that remit first," he said. . But speaking from China, Enda Kenny said that the Government would consider such a move.

And in an unexpected development, ex Fianna Fail grandee and EU Commissioner Padraig Flynn offered his resignation from the party, with a letter to party headquarters. The party had earlier received similiar correspondence from Bertie Ahern.

Earlier Fianna Fail vice president Lisa Chambers dramatically called former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s resignation from the party he led "a token effort".

The 25-year-old barrister from Castlebar, Co Mayo, said she did not accept Mr Ahern’s denials on the Mahon tribunal findings that he told untruths in evidence.

Lisa Chambers (25) a trainee barrister from Castlebar, Co Mayo was elected one of five vice presidents earlier this month at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis.

She was a candidate in the general election last year as a running mate of former Minister of State, Dara Calleary. He was also –reappointed as Honorary Secretary of the Fianna Fail Ard Comhairle.

Ms Chambers was speaking on Morning Ireland on RTE radio today.

The other Fianna Fail vice presidents are Aine Brady, Timmy Dooley, Senator Mary White and Kathryn Byrne.

Both Ms White and Ms Byrne refused to back the motion calling for Mr Ahern’s expulsion at last week’s Ard Comhairle meeting.

The issue of axing pensions was first raised last night by Junior Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Costello said that the pensions of people found guilty of ‘misconduct’ and ‘corruption’ should be stopped.

Speaking on RTE’s The Week in Politics, Mr Costello said this would require a constitutional referendum if it is to cover people named in the Mahon Tribunal report.

Fianna Fail’s Sean O’ Fearghail said he would have no problem in supporting legislation to back the proposal.

The party’s Justice spokesman Dara Calleary said the agenda of next Friday’s Fianna Fail National Executive meeting would be unchanged by Mr Ahern’s resignation.

A vote on the expulsion will not now be held, but a recommendation that there should be a root and branch review of the Dublin Central organisation will be tabled.

Motions for the expulsions of other Fianna Fail members mentioned in the Mahon Tribunal report, will also be considered.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail’s Eamon Ó Cuív – who recently quit as Deputy leader of the party over his failure to back the upcoming EU referendum - backed Micheál Martin's continued leadership after the Mahon Tribunal findings .

And he told Raidió na Gaeltachta's this morning that he could not understand why people named in Mahon were not formally charged with crimes if they were seen to be breaking the law.

He said that files which related to law-breaking should have been given by the Mahon Tribunal to the DPP, or to the Gardaí, up to 15 years ago, and criminal proceedings put in place at that stage.

The Galway Deputy said that such an issue wouldn't arise in other countries.

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