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The Flood Tribunal

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Introduction

The Flood Tribunal A Tale of Three Witnesses by Vivienne Traynor 1. Liam Lawlor The revelations by spin-doctor Frank Dunlop were the real turning point for the Flood Tribunal in 2000. Initially, Mr Dunlop handled the tribunal's question with ease, but after a grilling by the Tribunal Chairman, when he threatened Mr Dunlop with the possibility of a spell in prison, he appeared to crack. In a memorable day for Tribunal stalwarts and the watching public, the political lobbyist finally appeared to crack. In April, after two and a half years of legal sparring, the tribunal finally discovered something people had long suspected. Mr Dunlop admitted that certain politicians were taking cash for votes on rezoning. He wrote the names of 15 politicians, who had taken sums ranging from �500 to �40,000, and he made particular mention to a very powerful, Mr Big. The journalists were ecstatic and Frank McDonald, the Irish Times Environment Correspondent, brought in clippings, which referred to politicians pocketing brown paper bags back in the early 90s. Liam Lawlor immediately denied that he was the "Mr Big" who pocketed the most from Dunlop's generous sponsors, but this didn't stop Fianna Fail from launching an investigation into Mr Lawlor. After a lengthy grilling by party colleagues, Liam Lawlor ended up leaving the party. ...read more.

Middle

James Stafford, a former Century Radio director said that he had heard around that time of a so called 'price list' for broadcasting licences. It involved the former Government Press Secretary, PJ Mara and Ray Burke. To date the module investigating century has highlighted a number of decisions taken by Ray Burke while he was Minister for Communications, which would have favoured Century Radio. However, the conclusions for that module are still awaited. Across the way from the Moriarty Tribunal in Dublin Castle, an 81-year-old former construction company executive was causing quite a stir. He was James Gogarty, whose allegations were central to the establishment of the Flood Tribunal in 1997. The purpose of the Tribunal is to investigate the planning history of 726 acres of land in north Co Dublin. These were the subject of a letter written by the developer, Michael Bailey, to Mr Gogarty, then of Joseph Murphy Structural Engineering, in June, 1989. Mr Gogarty alleges that the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ray Burke, received payments amounting to �80,000 from JMSE and Mr Bailey in connection with these lands. But Mr Burke has claimed he only received �30,000. Mr Gogarty's evidence lasted for a total of 16 weeks, during which time he recounted his life, his work and his career with JMSE. He also recounted his version of how the deal for the North Dublin lands was done. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tribunal that he was holding �118,000 in a political fund, made up of contributions he received when he was still in politics. Mr. Burke stressed that now he had retired he would not benefit personally from the money. The tribunal also heard that Mr Burke lodged �95, 000 in an overseas account in 1984. On the second day of Mr Burke's evidence, the Tribunal heard that �30,000 was not the largest election contribution ever received by the former politician, even though he told the D�il this two years earlier. Mr Burke said he had since had discussions with a donor and now knew he had received a sum of �35,000 which he lodged in May, 1989. It also emerged that Mr.Burke had funds on deposit in special savings accounts after the 1989 general election, even though he told the D�il that the campaign had left him in financial straits. So, as the Flood Tribunal enters its third year and after millions of pounds of tax payers money have been spent on legal fees and expenses, the general public is still no wiser as to what precisely took place at Mr Burke's house in June, 1989. Meanwhile, the tribunal has not yet begun investigating allegations by the UK-based Irish property developer, Tom Gilmartin about payments he made, including a claim that he gave the EU Commissioner, P�draig Flynn, a �50,000 cheque in 1989. ...read more.

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