Saturday 22 October 2016

Ray Burke cleared as tribunal drops corruption ruling

Former minister Ray Burke
Former minister Ray Burke

The name of former Fianna Fail Minister Ray Burke has effectively been cleared after the Planning Tribunal was forced to drop findings of corruption against him.

At his home in Dublin yesterday, Mr Burke declined to comment on this latest development.

In a statement on the tribunal's website, it said that a number of named individuals, including Mr Burke, were "now deemed entitled to costs" which had previously been refused.


The climbdown comes despite a statement last January by tribunal chairman Judge Alan Mahon that adverse findings against Mr Burke and businessmen Oliver Barry, Thomas Brennan, Joseph McGowan, James Stafford, John Mulhern and Jack Foley would not be withdrawn.

The decision has now been quietly edited out of the statement, which explains the background to the clearing of Mr Burke's name.

"Following the case of Murphy v Flood (2010), the Supreme Court had quashed the non- cooperation findings of hindrance and obstruction made by Mr Justice Flood in his second Interim Report against the Murphy interests and quashed the subsequent 2004 costs refusing them their costs," it says.

The tribunal "has now app-lied the benefit of that decision to a number of parties", including Mr Burke and former Dublin manager George Redmond as well John Finnegan and the Bailey Interests.

It follows the discovery of private interviews that were not circulated to affected parties and which would have allowed them to test the credibility of witnesses under cross-examination.

Mr Burke was informed last January by the tribunal that it would be dropping its findings against him following the Supreme Court's ruling.

At that time, Mr Burke gave a brief statement saying: "After 18 years I'm glad that justice has been done.

"I welcome this, obviously. Now I just want to get on with the rest of my life."

It is understood that former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is also eyeing these developments with interest with a view to verifying the two "dig-outs" he had spoken of to the tribunal, though no findings of corruption were ever made against him.

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