Wednesday

6th Jul 2022

Former Irish commissioner guilty of corruption

  • (Photo: snorski)

Ireland's former EU commissioner Padraig Flynn is guilty of taking bribes during his time as an environment minister, a 15-year-long investigation into the Bertie Ahern government concluded on Thursday (22 March).

The 3,200-page fact-finding study led by judge Alan Mahon said corruption was "endemic and systemic" at every level of government in Ireland in the late 1990s when Ahern was prime minister.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It found that Ahern lied about bank deposits and party donations, which led to his resignation in May 2008, but fell short of accusing him of corruption because the panel of three judges could not prove he gave favours to any of his cash donors.

This was not the case with Flynn, from Ahern's Fianna Fail party, however.

Flynn was a minister between 1987-1993 before switching over to the EU commission. The report found he had acted "wrongfully and corruptly" in 1989 during his term as an environment minister when he accepted a 50,000 Irish pound 'donation' from property developer Tom Gilmartin which he used to purchase a farm in the west of Ireland.

"Mr Flynn having being paid £50,000 by Mr Gilmartin for the Fianna Fail party proceeded wrongfully to use the money for his own personal benefit," the report says.

The judges also found Flynn's explanations of how he dealt with the donation "astounding, incredible and untrue."

Gilmartin had complained about the money being siphoned off to Flynn's private pocket, but Fianna Fail officials decided not to pursue the matter. Then then prime minister Albert Reynolds was also informed, but he told the tribunal he had no recollection of it.

The real estate developer testified that he gave Flynn the donation "to ease or remove obstacles" related to one of his construction projects. He admitted that the payment was "misconceived and entirely inappropriate."

The report is being sent to state prosecutors, but criminal evidence will be hard to track down after two decades and some of the accusations will be affected by statute of limitations.

Fianna Fail, meanwhile, is considering expelling Ahern from its ranks.

EU to monitor anti-corruption measures in member states

A special report on what EU member states are doing to fight corruption and how cases are actually solved is to be drafted by the European Commission every two years, home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom has announced.

MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship

Two MEPs have withdrawn their nominations from the MEPs Awards over the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis's participation as a sponsor — currently involved in an alleged bribery scandal in Greece.

EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Interpreters at the European Parliament are fed up with remote interpretation, citing auditory health issues given the poor quality of the online sessions.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. Turkey signs Nato protocol despite Sweden extradition row
  2. European gas production hit by Norway strike
  3. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  4. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  5. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  6. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  7. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  8. Israel and Poland to mend relations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules
  2. Turkey sends mixed signals on Sweden's entry into Nato
  3. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  4. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  5. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  6. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  7. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  8. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us