Taoiseach answers questions on Burke appointment

Thursday 10 October 2002 16.23
Taoiseach answers questions on Burke appointment

The Taoiseach has been answering questions on his appointment of Ray Burke as the Dáil debate on the Flood report continues.

Bertie Ahern told the Dáil that he consulted the Garda Commissioner before appointing Mr Burke as Foreign Affairs Minister in 1997.

Mr Ahern said that in the light of what he was told in respect of Mr Burke and planning matters, his assessment was confirmed that those rumours were unsubstantiated.

The Taoiseach defended his role in the affair, specifically opposition allegations that he did not interview James Gogarty, who was at the centre of allegations about Mr Burke.

Mr Ahern said Mr Gogarty was at the time refusing to sign a statement for the Gardaí and said that it would not have been prudent or proper for him to talk to him.

Bertie Ahern reiterated that he had been misled by Mr Burke and that he had condemned the corrupt activities themselves.

Referring to the file on passports issued by Ray Burke, Mr Ahern warned the House that the issue was not currently the subject of a tribunal report.

This meant that comments in the Dáil could prevent a trial proceeding.

Mr Ahern said that as there were currently criminal investigations into matters raised by the Flood Tribunal, he would be confining his remarks on the issue.