Friday

30th Sep 2016

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.

Balkan leaders pledge to keep out migrants

Balkan leaders said in New York there would be no repetition of last year's mass influx of refugees, as the EU prepares to launch a new border force to keep people out.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceWhy the Investment Plan for Europe Does not Drive the Sustainable Energy Transition
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region Seeks to Make Its Voice Heard in the World
  3. Taipei EU OfficeCountries Voice Support for Taiwan's Participation in ICAO
  4. World VisionNew Tool Measuring Government Efforts to Protect Children Released
  5. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  6. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  7. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  8. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  9. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  10. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  11. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  12. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?