Category: Archive

Haughey loses appeal; tribunal probe to continue

February 15, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN – Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey and members of his family have lost their High Court challenge to stop the Moriarty Tribunal inquiring into their financial affairs.

Haughey, his wife, Maureen, daughter Eimear Mulhern and sisters Eithna and Maureen Haughey had challenged the standing of the Tribunal on a number of legal and constitutional grounds during a six-day hearing.

Justice Hugh Geoghegan on Monday said the plaintiffs had raised some legitimate queries and he granted them three days of their costs.

The High Court verdict is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

The judge criticized ambiguities in the Tribunal’s terms of reference, saying that the plaintiffs were entitled to have an explanation of them.

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He said Haughey’s wife, daughter and sisters should have been be given reasonable opportunity to object to orders of discovery that were made by the Tribunal in respect of their bank accounts.

The Tribunal, under High Court Judge Michael Moriarty, was set up last year by the Oireachtas following the findings of an earlier inquiry under his colleague Brian McCracken that found that Haughey had received _1.3 million in payments from the former superstore boss Ben Dunne.

The Moriarty Tribunal is also investigating the financial affairs of former Fine Gael Transport Minister Michael Lowry and is probing the role of the Revenue Commissioners.

Haughey’s lawyers had claimed that the Tribunal was asking him to account for everything he did during 30 years in public life.

They claimed the Tribunal was operating in “discriminatory, selective and exclusionary” terms and that Haughey was being denied an opportunity to protect and vindicate his good name by reason of the vague terms of reference.

Haughey described the second Tribunal as “quite absurd, grossly unfair and iniquitous.” He said no allegation of impropriety had been made against him and he was “quite horrified” at both the speed and aspects of the manner in which the Tribunal had gone about its business.

He said it was “bordering on the farcical” to expect anyone to give full details of the financial affairs over such a long period.

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