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FG look at 'principle' of Mitchell payment

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has said Fine Gael is addressing "the principle" of his party colleague, Olivia Mitchell, receiving a payment which the Mahon Tribunal deemed to be inappropriate.

While pointing out that the sum of money Ms Mitchell received from Frank Dunlop -- a former government press secretary -- was very small, Mr Noonan said the principle of the issue had to be addressed.

"There is an internal party committee which is looking at anybody who was mentioned adversely in the report," Mr Noonan said.

"It seems to me that the amount of money involved is very small -- €500 was mentioned. Obviously there is a principle involved and the principle is being addressed. I don't want to prejudice anything by saying something about it while there is a process going on," he said.

Mr Noonan was speaking at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) where he announced a fund to support start-up businesses.

The fund -- which has already secured €350,000 of a targeted €1m -- was instigated by LIT's Thought Leadership and Advisory Group. Qualifying companies can expect to receive between €10,000 and €25,000.

Regarding the contentious payment of water meters, Mr Noonan said no Government decision has been made.

"There is a decision in principle that there will be a national water board -- 'Bord Uisce' I suppose it will be called," he said.