Cantillon: Frank Mulcahy may yet have his day
Frank Mulcahy, former chief executive of Isme in the 1990s.
Readers of a certain age will remember Frank Mulcahy, the former chief executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Isme), who was pushed out of the position in the late 1990s under something of a cloud.
There were allegations at the time of fraud and claims about the submission of invoices to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for the payment of European grant money to Isme, prior to the expenses at issue having been incurred.
Since then, Mulcahy has been campaigning to clear his name. His stance is that the system then in place allowed for the practice which lay behind the accusation made against him, and that this was known to the department. However, according to Mulcahy and his supporters, the department failed to back Mulcahy’s defence against the claims being made against him, as it in turn was concerned about what Europe might think of how it had been handling the grant finance.
Four MEPs – Marian Harkin, Martina Anderson, Paul Murphy, and Phil Prendergast – have been supporting Mulcahy’s efforts to have his case investigated and they were recently written to by the Minister for Education and Science, Ruairí Quinn, who has long been a supporter of Mulcahy’s fight to clear his name. “I confirm that it is my opinion that the State wronged Frank Mulcahy, who is entitled to his good name and has a need and right to have the record corrected,” wrote Quinn. “It is my personal view that Frank Mulcahy should have his name vindicated in a meaningful way.”
The MEPs and Mulcahy are seeking to have the matter investigated by the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee as well as the European Ombudsman. Mulcahy is no doubt pleased with Quinn’s letter to the MEPs, in which he says he believes the committee should rule in his favour.
Mulcahy and a number of his supporters have turned the effort to clear his name into something of a crusade, and the missives keep flying despite the passing of the years. In his letter Quinn commends Mulcahy’s perseverence, which has led to the unearthing of many facts at Commission and other levels over the years.