Flood report says Burke got corrupt payments

Thursday 26 September 2002 19.37

The Flood Tribunal has found in its interim report that former minister Ray Burke received corrupt payments from property developers and other business interests in the 1970s and 80s.

The report, published this afternoon, found that the £125,000 worth of payments that Mr Burke received in this period from the builders, Tom Brennan and Joe McGowan, were corrupt.

The report said Mr Burke received what amounted to a corrupt payment through the acquisition of his home at Swords. It says the price of the property did not represent its open market value.

The Tribunal has been unable to discover what action Mr Burke performed for Tom Brennan or his associates in return for this benefit.

The report also says several other payments to Mr Burke were corrupt, including one that ensured he was available to serve the interests of Century Radio's promoters.

Briargate meeting to facilitate corrupt paymentThe report says that the meeting at Briargate on 15 June 1989, attended by James Gogarty and Michael Bailey was specifically arranged by Mr Bailey and Mr Burke to allow for the payment of money to be made to Mr Burke.

It says that the payment received by Mr Burke amounted to a corrupt payment and all present at the meeting were aware that it was such.

Ministerial directive not in public interestThe report says that the Ministerial Directive obliging RTE to provide its facilities to Century issued by Mr Burke as Minister for Communications on 14 March, 1989, was issued to advance the private interests of the promoters of Century and not to serve the public interest.

Legislation proposed by Mr Burke would have the effect of curbing RTÉ's advertising, altering the format of 2FM and diverting broadcasting licence fee income from RTE to independent broadcasters.

The report says that Mr Burke was acting in response to demands from the promoters of Century and was not serving the public interest.

Reacting to the findings regarding Century Radio, a spokesperson for RTE said the station was pleased to have co-operated with the Tribunal and said it's position had been accepted in full.

Report forwarded to DPPMr Justice Flood concluded that a number of people did not co-operate with the Tribunal. The extent to which their actions may have involved them in breaches of the criminal law was a matter on which the Director of Public Prosecutions has absolute jurisdiction. He said he had decided to forward his interim report to the DPP.

Several obstructed TribunalThe report found that a number of people obstructed and hindered the work of the Tribunal. Apart from Ray Burke and Tom Brennan, the report also names in this regard: Michael and Tom Bailey, and Tom Bailey's wife, Caroline; Joseph Murphy Jr and Joseph Murphy Sr; Oliver Barry; James Stafford; Joseph McGowan; John Finnegan; Rodger Copsey; Frank Reynolds; Tim O'Keeffe; John Bates.

PJ Mara failed to co-operateThe report says that the former Government Press Secretary, PJ Mara, failed to co-operate with the Tribunal by failing to provide the Tribunal with details of an overseas account when swearing an affidavit in response to a Tribunal order of discovery. John Caldwell and Hugh V. Owens are also described as having failed to co-operate.

Mr Mara, whose resignation the Green Party is demanding told RTE News that he had no comment to make on the report at this stage. Asked about his position as Director of Elections in the Nice Referendum, he said that he had not thought about that yet.

The full report is available on: http://www.flood-tribunal.ie/images/Report.pdf - it is a large document and may take some time to open or download