A JOURNALIST who admitted lying to the Moriarty Tribunal has said she is "genuinely ashamed" and it will be a "black spot" on her record.
Irish Times columnist Sarah Carey said today that she learned her lesson the "hard, horrible, humiliating way" after being criticised in the lengthy report.
An entire section of the report details the evidence given by the well known columnist and TV panelist, giving particular attention to lies she told about the leaking of information from the Tribunal.
Ms Carey joined Esat Telecom in January 1995 and was heavily involved in forging links between Denis O'Brien and Fine Gael.
But as the Tribunal focused on these links, she secretly passed on documents to a Sunday newspaper in an attempt to shift the focus onto Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats.
In particular, there was one letter from Michael McDowell thanking Mr O'Brien for a £15,000 donation to the PDs.
In the letter, Mr McDowell wrote: "I will drink a toast to your health this Christmas."
In her Irish Times column today, Ms Carey accepts: "Leaking was the first mistake. The monumental mistake was the next one -- denying it when first asked about it."
She explained: "Obviously I didn't want to get in trouble about it and as far as I could see, everyone was leaking like crazy."
In his report, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty notes that Ms Carey was a member of Fine Gael when she started working for Esat.
She told Mr O'Brien some members of the party had a negative perception of him, while others knew nothing about him.
The Tribunal notes that she was focused on "raising his profile and that of his businesses with Fine Gael".
It adds that, through her connections, Ms Carey was "instrumental in proposing the events which Mr O'Brien sponsored and attended, and she herself attended probably as many as ten such Fine Gael events".
Writing about her experience today, the mother of two said that she ended up "in the car park of the Four Courts with a senior counsel telling me that by denying the leak I had obstructed the tribunal, which was a criminal offence and that I could be jailed".
She was warned that she could be lumped with her own legal expenses and her solicitor fired her as a client.
"Since then I've had plenty of time to reflect on the stupidity of my actions and feel genuinely ashamed about the lie," she said. "I should have admitted it straight away and for someone who preaches regularly about the necessity of honesty, it's a black spot on my record."
Ms Carey concludes: "In the greater scheme of things, and in the context of Moriarty's report, my part is peripheral, and yet, not my finest hour."