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Pee Flynn's Late Late interview was "underhand" says Gilmartin's son

The developer’s son says his father was vindicated by Mahon and should get more credit for exposing corruption.

Tom Gilmartin in 2004.
Tom Gilmartin in 2004.
Image: Haydn West/PA Archive

THE SON OF DEVELOPER Tom Gilmartin says he feels his father has been “fully vindicated” by the Mahon Tribunal report, but hopes that he gets more credit for exposing the political corruption investigated by Mahon.

He also described attempts to discredit his health or evidence as “scurrilous”, calling an interview given by former minister Pádraig Flynn to the Late Late Show in 1999 was “underhand”.

The Tribunal found that Pádraig Flynn had “wrongly and corruptly” sought a IR£50,000 payment from the developer in 1989.

Thomas Gilmartin Jr told RTÉ’s This Week that it was important for people to note that while the Tribunal said Flynn had corruptly received the payment, it did not say his father had corruptly made the payment.

Explaining the transaction, the developer’s son said that his father had discovered that his projects were being blocked by politicians and that individuals such as Liam Lawlor were standing in his way. He was told that the only way to proceed was to pay money to Fianna Fáil, and eventually he did.

“In the end, in what amount to extortion, he was told that he’d lose everything or he’d pay money to Fianna Fáil,” Gilmartin Jr said.

The IR£50,000 payment to Flynn was intended for the party, but the Tribunal found that Flynn had used the payment for his personal benefit.

The Late Late Interview

The developer’s son said that his father had “sometimes felt despondent about whether the truth would ever come out”. He had been unsure about cooperating with the Tribunal but after meeting with the judges found them sincere and decided to return to Ireland from England to provide evidence. It was Gilmartin who first drew the Tribunal’s attention to Frank Dunlop.

Asked about the Pee Flynn interview on the Late Late Show (see video below) which reportedly drove him to proceed with his Tribunal evidence, Gilmartin Jr said that his father was “very angry” to hear Flynn make dismissive comments about his health and his wife’s health:

He took it as a personal slight. He believed that the implication was that ‘he’s not well and he’s out of sorts’ [meaning] that he wasn’t telling the truth and that there was something wrong with him.

Gilmartin Jr also spoke about the intense pressure on his father from the media and politicians during the Tribunal. He said that Bertie Ahern’s barristers has quizzed him on his mental health, “which was of course reported the next day. ”

Pressure on Gilmartin throughout the Tribunal was extremely unpleasant for his father and for the family, he said, particularly because they could not speak out while the Tribunal was underway.

“I felt that the attitude on the part of some people was to make an example of him – to show ‘this is what happens if you speak out’ – you’ll be vilified and your credibility will be crushed by a machine that includes the government and business and certain sections of the media,” he said.

(Video captured by Gavin Sheridan of GavinsBlogTheStory and Storyful; uploaded to YouTube by AssassinorErrandBoy)

Read TheJournal.ie’s Mahon  Tribunal coverage in full >

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