A report in today's Sunday Tribune claims that the Tánaiste, Mary Harney, took part in a European Council of Ministers meeting that saved the aviation company, run by the McEvaddy brothers, millions of pounds. The paper also claims that the Progressive Democrat leader discussed the introduction of new air noise pollution regulations with Ulick McEvady earlier this year. The allegations follow on from last week's disclosure that Ms. Harney, and the Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy, had been a guests at Ulick McEvaddy's villa in France.
The Tánaiste denied that she broke any Oireachtas rules on accepting gifts by staying at a villa the businessman. She said that the McEvaddy family had been her friends since before she became a minister. The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said that the two ministers would not be absenting themselves from any Cabinet discussions about Mr Evaddy's application to build a second terminal at Dublin airport or the question of Government support for McEvaddys' fight against new EU rules on aircraft engine noise.
Responding to today's, report a spokesman for Ms. Harney said that the Minister had no material involvement in the EU meeting last April. He confirmed that she had discussed proposed regulations with Mr. McEvaddy earlier this year, but that she had made no regulations.
The newspaper also claims that Ulick McEvaddy tried to persuade a TD not to give evidence against Michael Lowry in the McCracken Tribunal. Fine Gael TD, Paul McGrath, told the paper that he had received a telephone call from Mr. McEvaddy before telling anyone that he was due to appear. Mr. McGrath claims the businessman suggested that the TD should not give his evidence. In his evidence, Mr. McGrath said that Michael Lowry appeared to believe that anyone who gave significant sums to the party should be treated favourably. He said that he had been lobbied by Mr Lowry in relation to a tax designation for Fine Gael.