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Friday 31 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland Therese Ridge at the Mahon Tribunal in 2008.
# Mahon
“Therese Ridge is not a crook” – FG cllr appeals party action after Mahon
Dublin councillor Therese Ridge says she did nothing wrong in accepting a donation from Frank Dunlop, an action which the Mahon Tribunal found was inappropriate.

THE DUBLIN COUNCILLOR who was censured by Fine Gael in the wake of adverse findings against her by the Mahon Tribunal is appealing the decision and has defended her record.

Therese Ridge, a member of South Dublin County Council for Clondalkin, says she was “shocked” by the decision of the Fine Gael disciplinary committee last week to remove the party whip and threaten her with expulsion from the party in the wake of findings by the Tribunal.

The party said last week that Ridge’s acceptance of a donation of IR£1,000 in relation to the Quarryvale rezoning in Dublin in 1992 was “injudicious and unwise”.

The Mahon Tribunal found that Ridge actively encouraged fellow councillors to support the rezoning of Quarryvale and was “handsomely rewarded”  for her efforts. Such behaviour was deemed inappropriate and compromised her position, the Tribunal said.

The party said she must resign from all committees on which she sits within a week otherwise she faces expulsion in July.

Ridge is appealing the censure, saying in a lengthy statement released earlier this week: “I am hurt, shocked and angry at the manner in which I have been treated by own party.”

In the statement she suggests that no action would be taken against people in the Fine Gael party who were in receipt of donations from other people which were of larger amounts than she received.

“How many of them will be disciplined for damaging the party (sic). I would think none,” the statement says.

Ridge adds: “I am devastated to note that the party leader, Enda Kenny, has unquestionably accepted and endorsed the findings of the Committee. It is of course easy to give that level of support when one is unaffected by the findings.”

Speaking to RTÉ Radio’s Today with Pat Kenny programme this morning, Ridge said she was “shocked” by the discrepancies in the findings between herself and her “very good friend and colleague Deputy Olivia Mitchell” whom the committee exonerated from any wrongdoing.

‘Therese Ridge is not a crook’

She said that she was only interested in the development at Quarryvale because of the needs of her constituents, citing a 64 per cent unemployment rate at the time: “We were pressed and begged to do something,” she claimed.

“They’re looking at the rules and regulations that pertain to now and didn’t at the time,” Ridge explained.

“There was no requirement up until 1997 to state that you had received donations for elections and like hindsight is a great thing isn’t it but to actually blame someone for not stating something that was never required…

“In my almost 30 years I have never asked for a donation from anybody,” she added.

Ridge explained that a donation of IR£1,000 was brought to her home by the lobbyist Frank Dunlop in 1992 prior to the general election campaign and said that she was “delighted to get it”.

“I certainly knew Frank Dunlop for more than 30 years, we were very good friends and I was definitely supporting Quarryvale and not for Frank Dunlop, I have already outlined the reasons why,” she said.

She said she did not care what people thought about that saying that her duty was to her constituents. Ridge said that reports that Olivia Mitchell was considering resigning her seat in Dublin South if the party found adversely against her left her with a “chilly feeling” that action would be taken against her.

She added: “As far as I am concerned Therese Ridge is not a crook, nobody will ever come forward and say I asked them for money.”

“My election donation for Quarryvale was from Frank Dunlop who at the time was a pillar of society and a good friend of mine and I used it totally for the three weeks of a very cold and hard campaign without any hope of getting elected.”

Ridge received 799 first preference votes in Dublin West, finishing second last in the 1992 general election in which her Fine Gael colleague Austin Currie was elected along with Labour’s Joan Burton as well as Fianna Fáil’s Brian Lenihan and Liam Lawlor.

In full: Therese Ridge’s statement >

Read: Fine Gael councillor Therese Ridge loses party whip

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

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