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'Irish taxpayer has right to know when Mahon report will be published' - TD

Simon Harris has called for the tribunal into corruption in the planning process to outline when its final report will be published.

Judge Alan Mahon (File photo)
Judge Alan Mahon (File photo)
Image: Photocall Ireland

FINE GAEL TD Simon Harris has called on the Mahon Tribunal to indicate when it will publish its findings amid a flurry of speculation that the final report is imminent.

Harris told TheJournal.ie it was his belief that “the Irish taxpaper has a right to know” when the findings will be published. He said he has written to the Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett asking him to request that the tribunal provide a date or a time-frame for this.

The Tribunal of Inquiry Into Certain Planning Matters and Payments was set up in 1997 as the then Flood Tribunal to investigate allegations of corrupt payments to politicians for the rezoning of land for development.

It is the longest tribunal in the history of the State and is expected to have cost hundreds of millions of euro when it finally concludes.

Speculation has heightened in recent weeks that the tribunal’s report is imminent with political analyst Noel Whelan doing little to dampen rumours when he said it could be released on any Wednesday in the coming weeks on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier today.

Harris, a TD for Wicklow-East Carlow, said that he was not pressuring Judge Alan Mahon to publish his final report but was instead calling for the “flurry of speculation” to end and asking that the public be given a time-frame for when its findings will be made public.

“The rationale behind it is that every single Tuesday there seems to be a flurry of speculation: ‘Will this be the day that Mahon will release its report?’,” he said.

“It was commissioned by the Oireachtas so all I am asking for is that the Ceann Comhairle consider, as head of Oireachtas, contacting the tribunal seeking an update on when they expect to publish the report.”

Harris said that the tribunal had been of huge cost to the Irish taxpayer and noted that people had even joked that it was going on almost as long as he has been alive.

The 25-year-old said that the rampant speculation among politicians and journalists as to when it might be published was “not really the way we should deal with such an issue.”

“I think that there is an obligation on the tribunal to provide an indicative time-frame as there is massive amounts of speculation to the point where it risks overshadowing the actual report,” he added.

Read: The who’s who of the Mahon Tribunal

Read: Ahern secretary footage from Mahon Tribunal ‘will never be released’

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Hugh O'Connell

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