Thursday

23rd Feb 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.

MEPs set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

EU leaders to discuss migration, in Trump's shadow

New US president Trump overshadows the Malta summit of EU leaders on Friday, as they discuss the bloc's future amid new geopolitical realities, and step up efforts to stop migration via Libya from North African countries.

France's Macron issues Brexit warning

The centrist presidential candidate tells talented Britons to come to France and warns against giving the UK "undue advantages" after Brexit, in a speech in London.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions
  2. Irish PM expected to quit amid police scandal
  3. After Brexit vote, 100,000 UK firms registered in Ireland
  4. Bayrou to support Macron in French presidential election
  5. British by-election tests Ukip strength after Brexit
  6. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree
  7. Dozens drown off Libyan coast
  8. EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  2. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  3. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  4. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  5. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  7. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  10. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  11. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe