By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — European Commissioner Padraig Flynn has flatly denied allegations that he received a £50,000 political donation from a developer in the late 1980s when he was minister for the environment.
Sligo-born property developer Tom Gilmartin, who is based in London, is believed to have claimed to the Flood tribunal into allegations of planning corruption that the donation was intended as a contribution to Fianna Fail.
In a written response to questions from the Sunday Independent, Flynn said that in common with present and former ministers and members of the Oireachtas, he had been asked by the Flood Tribunal if he had any information of documents relevant to the tribunal.
He said he responded by saying no and added that he had received no more correspondence from the tribunal.
Asked by the newspaper if he had received a £50,000 contribution for the party, he also replied no and denied any dealings with the property developer.
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Flynn said he was only aware of the claims from rumors and speculation in newspapers. "I understood tribunal investigations to be confidential," he said.
Gilmartin was reported by newspapers to have made the claim to the tribunal but not to have signed a statement to this effect or substantiated the claim.
The inquiry by High Court Judge Feargus Flood is probing possible corruption surrounding rezoning and planning issues involving 726 acres in North Dublin.
It is also investigating payments to former Foreign Affairs Minister Ray Burke, who resigned his job in the Cabinet and his Dail seat as the controversy built up last year.
It will be concentrating on two payments of £30,000 made to Burke by a building developer and a subsidiary of the Fitzwilton company and whether they resulted in any undue influence.
The tribunal is also looking into the passports-for-sale scheme when Burke was minister for justice under Taoiseach Charles Haughey and £1 million citizenship was granted to a number of Saudi and Pakistani nationals.
The tribunal staff have been carrying out its investigations in private since it was set up last Nov. 4.
Under extended powers given to Flood, a trawl back through bank accounts and planning records to January 1973 is involved.