Irish Republican News · April 5, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Former Minister confirms Gilmartin cabinet meeting

Irish Senator Mary O'Rourke has backed up a claim by property developer Tom Gilmartin that he met a number of Dublin government ministers at a meeting in parliamentary buildings in 1989.

Mrs O'Rourke told the Mahon tribunal into corruption she recalled being introduced to Mr Gilmartin at a ``gathering'' attended by several members of the Fianna Fail government, some time between mid February and March of that year.

She said she had been brought to the meeting by the then minister for environment, Mr Padraig Flynn, who described Mr Gilmartin as a man who was ``going to make thousands of jobs for Dublin''.

Gilmartin has alleged the government of the day was engaged in widescale corruption and extortion. He has testified that a five million pound bribe was demanded from him in a corridor in the aftermath of the meeting in exchange for the go-ahead for a major development in west Dublin.

Mrs O'Rourke, who was minister for education at the time, said along with Mr Flynn, she remembers then Taoiseach Charles Haughey, Bertie Ahern, her brother the late Brian Lenihan, and MRay Burke being present at the meeting.

She said she saw ``nothing untoward'' in government ministers meeting someone who may provide jobs at a time of high unemployment.

She described the meeting as a ``gathering'' in which a number of people were just standing around. She said she was introduced to Mr Gilmartin from across the room and ``we nodded at each other''.

Crucially, Mrs O'Rourke is the only member of the 1989 cabinet that backs up Mr Gilmartin's claim that he met Fianna Fail ministers.

The other ministers alleged to have been present either don't recollect the meeting, or say it never took place.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News