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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland The CD version of the final report from the Mahon Tribunal.
# Mahon
13 things we learned from Mahon's final report
Who was ‘taken care’ of? What new powers should a future Tribunal have? What councillors were corrupt? Read it in a nutshell.

DID YOU DECIDE to keep your blood pressure in check yesterday and avoid mention of the Mahon Tribunal’s final report?

If so, and you have since developed a sneaking curiousity about what went down, we’ve a handy recap here for you. Here are13 things we learned from the Mahon Tribunal final report yesterday. Lucky for some.

  1. Bertie Ahern has not “truthfully” accounted for lodgements of over IR£165,000 to accounts connected to him – including the lodgement made after the infamous Manchester dinner with Irish businessmen. The Tribunal rejected his assertion that two thirds of the £24,838.49 was in punts. It said it was solely a stg£25,000 lodgement, ie, probably not a gift or ‘digout’.
  2. The final report from Mahon does not, however, brand Ahern as corrupt.
  3. Eamon Dunphy’s evidence that developer Owen O’Callaghan had told him that Bertie Ahern “was ‘taken care of’ in return for a promised favour” in relation to the building of a shopping centre was truthful and honest.
  4. Bertie Ahern dismissed a proposal for a National Stadium in 1994 – five years before announcing his own plans for the so-called ‘Bertie Bowl’.
  5. PR man and lobbyist Frank Dunlop, despite his 99 days of evidence to the Mahon Tribunal, was a “problematic witness” with compromised credibility. “Money did the talking” says the report of his extensive payments and movement of monies connected to rezonings and rewards from clients to him.
  6. The FBI was called in at one point to investigate Dunlop’s redacted diaries. Sections which may have related to Quarryvale were “subjected to very heavy overwriting of a nature which indicated that a deliberate attempt had been made to alter them, obliterate them altogether and render them indecipherable”.
  7. There were 11 councillors in the Dublin area taking corrupt payments during the periods of planning anomalies investigated by Flood/Mahon. Five councillors were specifically named in relation to money spent by the Monarch Group to secure support for the rezoning of land at Cherrywood – they were Tony Fox, Colm McGrath, Don Lydon, GV Wright (all Fianna Fáil) and Tom Hand of Fine Gael.
  8. Thirty Dublin councillors in total were investigated by Mahon over rezoning of land in Quarryvale, west Dublin. If you want to see the verdict on each of them, a synopsis is here.
  9. There should be a register of lobbyists – the final recommendations of Mahon says such a register would record who the lobbyist’s clients are, what issues they are lobbying on, and which people/officials they are lobbying.
  10. The late Liam Lawlor effectively “conducted a personal business” in which he sold his expertise, knowledge and influence as a councillor and a TD for personal financial reward. This is the first formal finding of corruption against Lawlor whose three brief jail terms during the Tribunal were to do with his lack of co-operation with the inquiry.
  11. Former Fianna Fáil minister Padraig Flynn “wrongly and corruptly” took a payment of IRL£50,000 from developer Tom Gilmartin in 1989 and used the money for his personal benefit. Much of it went to buy a farm in Mayo in his wife’s name. The Tribunal found that the payment was known about by senior FF figures including former taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Albert Reynolds.
  12. It has been recommended by the Tribunal that those Oireachtas members who are found to have breached the Ethics Acts in terms of a conflict of interest should be subject to a criminal prosecution.
  13. The powers of any future Tribunals should be extended so that they can force a person to attend an inquiry for private interview, order the discovery of documents without prior notice, and seize documents if necessary. Presumably, this recommendation was made by Mahon as its authors bore in mind the very long lifespan and legal wranglings of its own inquiry (detailed here in our all-you-need-to-know Mahon timeline).

If all those have whet your appetite for more indepth analysis, click on these:

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