Friday

28th Apr 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

EPP group frustrated with Orban

Orban's ruling Fidesz party is getting too much to handle for the EPP group, as they are once again forced to defend the Hungarian premier's controversial actions.

Analysis

Orban set to face down EU threats

The European Commission and Parliament are to debate Hungary's slide into illiberal democracy. But the bloc continues to think that Hungarian leader Viktor Orban is not a systemic threat.

European right divided on EU values after Brexit

A day after the UK notified its exit from the EU, leaders of the European People's Party expressed a different vision of Europe's identity, with Hungary's Orban calling for a stop to the Muslim "invasion".

France still anxious over possibility of Le Pen win

Despite opinion polls that place centrist Macron well ahead of the far-right leader Le Pen in the 7 May presidential run-off, doubts are emerging about his capacity to unite the French people around his candidacy.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  2. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  3. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  4. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  6. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  7. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  8. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  9. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  10. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  11. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?