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Fine Gael councillor Therese Ridge loses party whip

Mahon Report findings lead to her downfall – while Olivia Mitchell is “exonerated of any complaint” by FG.

Fine Gael councillor Therese Ridge has lost the party whip for donation she accepted in relation to Quarryvale rezoning.
Fine Gael councillor Therese Ridge has lost the party whip for donation she accepted in relation to Quarryvale rezoning.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

FINE GAEL COUNCILLOR Therese Ridge has lost the party whip after the FG disciplinary committee considered the findings of the Mahon Tribunal report against her.

A statement from the party this evening said that the committee found her acceptance of a donation in relation to the Quarryvale rezoning in Dublin to be “injudicious and unwise”. The committee said that Ridge would be required to resign from all committees on which she sits within the next seven days. If she doesn’t do so, she will lose her membership of Fine Gael altogether on 1 July.

The statement added:

Furthermore, the Committee found that Cllr Ridge’s relationship with Frank Dunlop severely compromised her role as a public representative. Failure to declare an interest and abstention on votes was also wholly inappropriate and damaging to the interests of Fine Gael.

Ridge has the right to lodge an appeal to her censure by FG within 30 days.

Meanwhile, TD Olivia Mitchell was “exonerated of any complaint” by the same Fine Gael disciplinary committee. It said that while it was “inappropriate in the light of what we now know for the then-Councillor Mitchell to accept the donation in question, her actions have not brought the party into disrepute”.

Mitchell, for her part, said that she was pleased that the Fine Gael committee had decided she had “no case to answer” in relation to “the unsolicited election contribution made to me by Mr Frank Dunlop in 1992″, as detailed in the Mahon Report.

She said:

I’m pleased but not surprised that the Fine Gael Disciplinary Committee has found that I have no case to answer. The opinion of the Tribunal that acceptance of such a donation was inappropriate is entirely unremarkable given that the opinion was formed with the benefit of hindsight and in the light of information about Mr Dunlop and his activities which was unknown both to me and the general public at that time.

I fully support the recommendations of the Mahon Report and would hope to see them implemented at the earliest possible date.

Mahon: The verdict on councillors involved in Quarryvale>

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