not a member? click here to sign up
On the centenary of the Titanic disaster, how appropriate that Fianna Fáil should have a sinking feeling after its culture of corruption and cronyism was unmasked by the Mahon Report
The Whole Hog, 10 Apr 2012
Always preening and thoroughly self-satisfied, Flynn seemed to think of himself as some kind of western prince, one who was elected by right, and that we should all be grateful for his presence, his opinions, his chutzpah and his cunning.
But he regularly opened his mouth just to change feet, and fittingly it was his stupid and recklessly over-confident remarks on The Late Late Show about developer Tom Gilmartin that prompted the latter to change his mind and co-operate with the tribunal, a development that gave the process crucial heft. Hubris was his undoing, and the undoing of many others in Fianna Fáil too.
Hauled to account, he blustered at the tribunal as if this was all a minor irritation. They didn’t believe him, concluding that he gave “astounding, incredible and untrue evidence.” That’s two adjectives more grievous than the assessment of Bertie’s evidence – though you’d have to say that the former Taoiseach’s statements to the tribunal were also astounding and incredible. The report asserts that Flynn had “wrongfully and corruptly sought a substantial donation” from Gilmartin and was given £50,000, which he then used “for his personal benefit”, including the purchase of a farm in Cloonanass in his wife’s name. Cloonanass indeed. As the man said: “Yabbadabbadoo.”
Another former Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, was also the subject of adverse findings. The pressure he put on a businessman to give a donation to FF was “an abuse of political power and government authority.” The late Liam Lawlor, another panto villain in his day, was also up to his neck in it. As indeed was Ray Burke, a man who has already done time for receiving corrupt payments.
Of course, it was not only politicians who were on the make. Most famously, in the planning arena, there was George Redmond, a public servant who spectacularly betrayed the trust put in him as Assistant City and County Manager of Dublin, and lobbyist Frank Dunlop – a long-term Fianna Fáil insider, and former party (and government) Press Secretary, who made corrupt payments of up to £170,000 to politicians on behalf of developers to interfere with the planning process…