Celia Larkin has told the Mahon Tribunal that this year Bertie Ahern gave her a short-term loan to allow her repay the loan she had been given from the Fianna Fáil party organisation.

She said the sale of her house in Castleknock in Dublin had taken longer than expected. She expressed the view to Mr Ahern that she wanted to repay the loan as soon as possible so he agreed to transfer funds to her account to allow her repay the loan.

Ms Larkin repaid the €40,000 to Mr Ahern by cheque.

Asked how the repayment of the loan came about, Ms Larkin told the tribunal that after questions and publicity about the loan she decided to repay it.

It emerged at the tribunal this afternoon that a cheque of €45,510 was made payable to 'Treasurers Dublin Central' on 4 February 2008. Ms Larkin left a blank cheque in St Luke's and staff at Mr Ahern’s office filled out the cheque which Ms Larkin had signed.

She said the former Taoiseach advised her of the figure owed later, telling the tribunal that a loan was taken out on her family home to cover part of the repayment.

Ms Larkin said she decided to repay the sum after a journalist called to her aunts' house asking about the ownership of the property. She told the tribunal that she never got an acknowledgement of the payment. 

She said she was told by the now deceased solicitor Gerry Brennan that the funds she was being loaned were being taken from the building trust account at St Luke's. She was told the account is used to fund major renovations at the constituency office.

She was told by Mr Brennan during a phone call that if funds were needed she would have to pay back the loan immediately.

Ms Larkin said she did not know about any written documentation on the agreement, the terms were discussed during a phone call between her and Mr Brennan.

She said a draft for the loan amount was paid from the Fianna Fáil account directly to the auctioneer who was selling the property or to her representative.

She told the tribunal that Mr Ahern was aware of the situation involving her aunts and the fact that she was concerned the house they were living in could be sold.

Ms Larkin said Mr Ahern got information for her on the situation and they both discussed the future options if the house her aunts were living in was to be sold.

Asked if they had discussed the matter, Ms Larkin said 'we certainly discussed it'.

Ms Larkin 'did not seek loan'

Ms Larkin said she received a loan of £30,000 from Fianna Fáil in March 1993 to secure her relatives' position. She said the loan had given her aunts 15 years' peace of mind.

She said she did not seek the loan, but the offer of it was made to her.

She said she does not consider the house to be hers, although it is legally in her name; she said she considers the property to be her aunts'.

Ms Larkin earlier told the tribunal that it never occurred to her that Manchester businessman Micheál Wall was buying a house for her then partner Bertie Ahern.

Ms Larkin also said she did not know why over £78,000 was budgeted to be spent in a house worth £138,000.

She was asked why in private interview with the inquiry she referred to Micheál Wall buying the house 'in his own name'.

Ms Larkin said she would use that expression if someone was married and also pointed out that it was different to Mr Wall buying it through his company.

She said it was the decision of Gerry Brennan to allow money given by Mr Wall for refurbishment to be spent on furnishings.

Mr Wall gave more than £28,000 and £19,000 of this went on stamp duty and a conservatory, but thousands of pounds of the remainder went on furnishings.

She said Mr Brennan was in constant contact with Mr Wall and that he and Mr Ahern would work it out between them.

Mr Ahern gave her £50,000 through a bank transfer in December 1994.

One the same day she deposited over £28,000 in cash handed over in St Luke's by Mr Wall but she did not know how much was in the suitcase and did not check the bank docket.

She said the dining facilities in the house were too small and it needed a conservatory or extension but could not explain why Mr Wall was willing to invest this amount.

She does not remember discussing the £50,000 with Mr Ahern and does not know what Mr Ahern would have known about the cost of interior decoration.

Henry Murphy SC for the tribunal put it to her that it was an extravagant sum and Ms Larkin replied that she did not know.

Mr Murphy said a total of £78,000 was being invested in a house worth £138,000.

Ms Larkin said she did not think about it.