Fianna Fáil may re-admit Beverley Flynn

Friday 15 June 2007 22.14
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Bertie Ahern - Flynn can expect ministerial post in this administration
Bertie Ahern - Flynn can expect ministerial post in this administration
Beverley Flynn - Legal costs of €2.84m
Beverley Flynn - Legal costs of €2.84m
Brian Cowen - 'A great colleague with a brilliant mind', says Ahern
Brian Cowen - 'A great colleague with a brilliant mind', says Ahern

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has indicated that Independent Mayo TD Beverley Flynn will be re-admitted to the Fianna Fáil party.

Ms Flynn was expelled from the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party in 2004 after the Supreme Court upheld a High Court judgment which found she had facilitated tax evasion while working for National Irish Bank.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio's News At One, Mr Ahern said she could not expect to be given a junior ministerial position at this stage but can have a realistic expectation of holding office at some stage during the lifetime of the administration.

A Fianna Fáil councillor for Mayo has said members of the local organisation feel upset, undermined and let down by Mr Ahern's statement.

Councillor Frank Chambers said he had spoken to a number of local councillors since the Taoiseach made the comments, and that these sentiments were shared by members throughout the local organisation.

Beverley Flynn is also challenging the constitutionality of the legislation providing that a person judged to be bankrupt cannot be a member of the Dáil.

Ms Flynn is challenging sections 41 and 42 of the 1992 Electoral Act.

Her challenge was mentioned before Mr Justice Thomas Smyth this afternoon. He gave her senior counsel, Gerard Hogan, permission to bring the legal action on Monday.

That is the same day as the bankruptcy proceedings being taken against Ms Flynn by RTÉ are due to begin.

The proceedings arise from Ms Flynn's failure to pay any of the €2.84m in legal costs arising from her unsuccessful libel action against RTÉ and its Chief News Correspondent, Charlie Bird.

Cowen 'obvious' successor

The Taoiseach also said that he regards Brian Cowen as his obvious successor as Fianna Fáil leader, but said the decision would ultimately fall to the Fianna Fáil party.

Mr Ahern described Mr Cowen as a great colleague with a brilliant mind.

Asked about his new coalition Government, the Taoiseach said he believed the 'synergies' in policy and experience of the three parties would help the job of implementing the Programme for Government.

He said he accepted that there were differences between the parties but said the focus had to be on achieving solutions and working for the people.