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Mahon: Varadkar backs Olivia Mitchell amid suggestion she could resign seat

The Sunday Independent reported that the Dublin South TD would resign her seat if censured by Fine Gael over the Mahon Tribunal findings.

Olivia Mitchell
Olivia Mitchell
Image: Photocall Ireland

TRANSPORT MINISTER LEO Varadkar has backed the Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell amid suggestions she could resign her Dáil seat as the party probes adverse findings made against her by the Mahon Tribunal last month.

The Tribunal found that the Dublin South TD had accepted an “inappropriate” payment of IR£500 from the lobbyist Frank Dunlop with an internal Fine Gael inquiry now due to report on what action, if any, should be taken against her and two other Fine Gael councillors implicated in the report.

The Sunday Independent reported yesterday that Mitchell will quit the Dáil if censured by the party but Varadkar appeared to pour scorn on that suggestion on RTÉ television last night.

“I don’t know if that story is true,” he told The Week in Politics. “Olivia is a very committed public representative and I’d highly doubt that she would resign her mandate.

He added that while he did not want to criticise the tribunal nor influence the internal inquiry, he believed that the language used in relation to Mitchell in the report differed from that used to describe other people.

“I think anyone who does read the language about the different findings about different people they would see that the language in relation to Olivia Mitchell is very different than it was against other people who had findings made against them,” Varadkar added.

The Tribunal found that Mitchell, then a councillor, met the disgraced Dunlop and the developer Owen O’Callaghan in relation to the Quarryvale project and received a IR£500 donation from Dunlop during the 1992 general election. But she did not solicit the contribution.

The internal party committee is also due to make recommendations on disciplinary action in relation to councillors Therese Ridge and Anne Devitt. Devitt stood down from the party pending the outcome of the inquiry.

Read: TheJournal.ie’s Mahon Tribunal coverage>

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Hugh O'Connell

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