Category: Archive

Deadbeat pol subject of probe

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The claims, published in the Sunday Independent, are now being investigated by the state-owned airlines authority and Transport Minister Seamus Brennan.
The paper said the luxury items — they apparently included Cuban cigars and VSOP cognac — had been Christmas presents for friends and constituents of a minister and were gift wrapped and delivered to him.
It said the bill remained unpaid despite the fact that at least three invoices were issued.
The politician was not named by the paper or the years in which the items were allegedly purchased in the early 1990s.
Publication of the allegations comes as relations between Brennan and Aer Rianta are strained over plans to break up the company and the building of a second terminal at Dublin Airport.
Former Aer Rianta board member Dermot O’Leary confirmed to RTE that the authority had been aware of the allegations as far back as 1993.
Fine Gael Transport spokesman Denis Naughten said the implications could be very serious.
“If they are true, I think there is a huge consequence,” he said. “The individual involved would be unfit for office. This has the potential to be a very serious issue if these allegations are true.
“It is from the taxpayer that this money has been taken, if that is the case. The fact that it has come out that Mr. Dermot O’Leary approached the individual in question does show that the minister knew about this issue some time ago and has not addressed the issue subsequent to that.”
Brennan, who became a cabinet minister in charge of the new Transport Department after the May general election, said the results of the investigation would be published in full in two weeks.
“I have instructed the secretary-general of the Department of Transport to see from the auditors of Aer Rianta a full report,” he said.
Brennan told reporters he would make no comment on the timing or the motivation of the newspaper story until the report was completed.
Asked if he was the minister involved, Brennan said, “I don’t know from reading the piece whether it is one minister or 10 ministers, over what period it is.”
Asked if he had received the euro 5,000 worth of goods, he said: “The Sunday Independent story doesn’t say that I did. I have initiated a very strong investigation. Fourteen days will tell all. I am quite confident to wait for those 14 days and I would be quite confident at the end of that to make comments on the timing and motivation of this.”
He said every scrap of paper, every invoice and delivery docket, would be examined.

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