herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Mary Lou McDonald may face legal action over Dail remarks

Mary Lou McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald

THE threat of a legal action is looming over Mary Lou McDonald after she was found to have abused parliamentary privilege.

Lawyers representing two former politicians and the family of a deceased Government minister are examining whether the Sinn Fein deputy leader can be sued over remarks wrongly linking them to tax evasion.

Ms McDonald has refused to apologise after naming six of the ten politicians implicated by civil servant Gerard Ryan in the Ansbacher affair.

Former Minister and leader of the now-defunct Progressive Democrats Des O'Malley, one of those named by her, said he would call on the Dail authorities to suspend and fine Ms McDonald.

"She should be suspended and she shouldn't be paid for the time she is suspended," he told the Herald.

"The Dail is free to impose sanctions upon her and I wish they would. She alleged tax evasion which is a criminal offence.

"There is always a small possibility that some people would have believed it as true," he added.

Former Tanaiste Mary Harney was incorrectly alleged to have shut down an investigation into the claims made against Mr O'Malley.

Ms Harney, who strenuously denied the allegations, said she did not want to say whether or not she was contemplating any action against Ms McDonald.

Outcome

"I don't want to get involved in any discussion. I am happy with the outcome from the CPP committee," she told the Herald.

"Parliamentary privilege must never be abused to defame or wrong citizens," she added.

Former Fianna Fail minister Gerry Collins said: "It doesn't surprise me that the decision is what it is."

Former Finance Minister Ray MacSharry said the matter was still being handled by his legal team and he was not in a position to comment.

"My legal people are dealing with that matter and have been since day one," he said.

Ms McDonald has been branded a disgrace for "abusing Dail privilege" by Fianna Fail whip Sean O Fearghail. There are now also questions over Ms McDonald's role on the Public Accounts Committee.

Labour TD for Dublin West and PAC member Robert Dowds said he wants the committee to discuss Ms McDonald's actions when the committee next meets.

"I certainly want a discussions with colleagues as what to do next," he said last night.

PAC vice chair John Deasy also said he wants her actions discussed when members gather next week.

news@herald.ie

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