O'Rourke 'feels vindicated' by Mahon Tribunal report

Story by Adrian Cusack

Wednesday, 28th March, 2012 4:30pm

Former Fianna Fail Minister Mary O'Rourke said she "feels vindicated" by a finding in that Mahon Report that evidence she gave about a meeting between developer Tom Gilmartin and senior Government politicians in 1989 was "entirely truthful."

In evidence given to the Tribunal in 2004, Ms O'Rourke said she clearly remembered a meeting taking place at Leinster House between Mr Gilmartin and others including the Taoiseach Charlie Haughey, Liam Lawlor, Padraig Flynn, Bertie Ahern, Brian Lenihan, and Ray Burke.

Mr Gilmartin said Ms O'Rourke, who was Minister for Education at the time of the meeting, walked into the room at one stage. He said she was introduced to him by Padraig Flynn but she then nodded at him and left the room.

The developer claimed he was approached by an unidentified man after the meeting and was told to deposit a £5 million sum in a bank account in the Isle of Man.

All of the individuals Mr Gilmartin identified as having attended the meeting (save for Mr Haughey and Mr Lenihan) gave evidence to the tribunal, but everyone else bar Ms O'Rourke claimed to have no recollection of attending the meeting.

The Tribunal noted and accepted Ms O'Rourke's clear account of the meeting, which it said was "entirely truthful."

Speaking to the Westmeath Independent this week, Ms O'Rourke said she "feels vindicated" by the finding. She was a Senator when her evidence was given in 2004.

She said the day after giving evidence to the Tribunal she was "upbraided" by other Fianna Fail TDs and Senators because her evidence "was causing trouble" for Mr Ahern and the party.

"The response I always gave them was that I told the truth because if I hadn't told the truth it would have been perjury. That usually stopped them in their tracks," she said.

The report concluded that corruption and abuse of power were 'endemic' in politics and it made serious findings against senior figures who represented Fianna Fail, such as Bertie Ahern, Padraig Flynn and Albert Reynolds.