Government coalition under pressure as Bertie Ahern admits that he met with property developer three times and not once as previously stated.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern insists he knew nothing of the donation of £50,000 to Pádriag Flynn and that he never solicited any money from property developer Tom Gilmartin. The political crisis surrounding the coalition deepens after Bertie Ahern admits that he had three meetings with Tom Gilmartin and not one as he originally suggested.

Having stated that he recollected meeting Tom Gilmartin on just at his constituency office above Fagan's pub in Drumcondra on 10 October 1988. However, having consulted his office diaries, Mr Ahern revealed that he had actually met Mr Gilmartin on several occasions. 

According to the Taoiseach, a second meeting took place at the Department of Labour on 13 October 1988 and a third meeting took place on 28 September 1989. He went on to say

I still have no specific memory of these meetings. 

Mr Gilmartin insists that he had further meetings with Mr Ahern with the first meeting taking place in late 1987 at the Department of Labour and the last in March 1989 at Leinster House. 

The Taoiseach issued a statement on the issue of the £50,000 donation to Pádraig Flynn saying,

I am quite certain that I would not have solicited a donation for Fianna Fáil from Mr Gilmartin, and I have no recollection of any reference made by him to an alleged £50,000 given to the party treasurer Mr Pádraig Flynn in June 1989.

Mr Gilmartin claims that he had a telephone conversation with Mr Ahern in September 1989 when a reference was made to a donation to Fianna Fáil. The property developer says that he told Mr Ahern that he had given Mr Flynn £50,000. 

Mr Ahern has denied he was embarrassed by what had happened saying he had never sought any money from Mr Gilmartin. 

I never, I think, asked anybody for money for political donation. When I was treasurer of the party, I would have organised events but it was not my way of operating to go around asking people for political donations.

The appearance of EU commissioner Pádraig Flynn on the Late Late Show on 15 January 1999 ignited a major political crisis.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 26 January 1999. The reporter is Charlie Bird.