The Taoiseach is due in the Dublin Circuit Civil Court tomorrow and is expected to give evidence of how allegations that he accepted a £50,000 bribe in 1989 have affected him. The allegations, made by retired Cork businessman Denis "Starry" O'Brien of Ballyharoon House, Glanmire, have now been withdrawn.

Mr Ahern had brought defamation proceedings against Mr O'Brien in the Circuit Civil Court, but last week the businessman instructed his legal advisors to withdraw his defence. The Taoiseach commenced defamation proceedings last August following a claim by Mr O'Brien that he had given the Fianna Fáil leader £50,000 on behalf of a property developer.

In articles in the Sunday Business Post and the Irish Examiner an unnamed businessman was reported to have given evidence in private to the Flood Tribunal about two alleged £50,000 payments to one current and one former politician.

Mr Ahern's legal team was advised last week that Mr O'Brien was withdrawing his defence to the Taoiseach's action. The hearing today is now expected to be an assessment of damages only. It is expected to hear evidence from Mr Ahern refuting Mr O'Brien's allegations and telling the court how he was affected by them.

While the maximum sum of money in damages the court can award is £30,000, costs are expected to be well in excess of that sum.