Taoiseach says Moriarty Tribunal will not be re-opened
Enda Kenny rejects call by Micheál Martin after new evidence concerning Michael Lowry emerges
Speaking to journalists after an event to mark St Patrick’s Day in New York today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Moriarty Tribunal had ’reported fully and finally’ and would not be re-opened. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Speaking following St Patrick’s Day Mass at Breezy Point in New York, Mr Kenny said that the tribunal sat for 14 years and “reported fully and finally”.
“If Deputy Martin or anybody else has an issue of which they have evidence they have a duty and responsibility to bring it to the notice of the authorities and they should do so forthwith,” he said.
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Mr Martin has said that he will ask the Taoiseach next week to agree to a specific module of the tribunal reopened for three months to examine new material that has emerged since it reported in 2011.
The Sunday Independent published a transcript of a recording between Mr Lowry, a former Fine Gael minister and now Independent TD, and Northern Ireland-based businessman Kevin Phelan detailing previously undisclosed payments.
Mr Lowry admitted, following the publication of the transcript, that he had made a payment of almost £250,000 sterling (€289,000) to Mr Phelan even though his lawyers had told the tribunal in 2007 that he had only made a payment of £65,000 sterling (€75,000) to the businessman in April 2002.
The Taoiseach made his comments after visiting Breezy Point, an Irish-American community in Queens, New York where he surveyed the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy last year. Afterwards he attended St Patrick’s Day mass in the community’s Blessed Trinity church after meeting residents.
Speaking to reporters after mass, Mr Kenny said he had no interest in opinion polls when asked about a poll published today showing that Fianna Fáil was four percentage points ahead of Fine Gael and the country's most popular party.
Being in Government was “not about being popular – Government has to be about doing what is right,” he said.
The Government would stick with its strategy to get the public finances back in order, to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent by 2015 and “to fix our problems at home.”
Mr Kenny said he understood the difficulties and the “hardship that is inflicted on many people”.
“It is not easy but this is not about short term popularity – this is about the good of people and the good of our country,” said the Taoiseach.
“They understand now what the truth is and in order to deal with that you have to make difficult decisions sometimes so again while it is not easy to say these things it is very important for the future both for people now and for the generation behind us to put things in place for that future.”
Support for Fianna Fáil in the Millward Brown poll in today’s Sunday Independent climbed to 29 per cent, six points more than the corresponding poll two weeks.
Labour was on 9 per cent, down two, and Sinn Féin support fell by one point to 20 per cent while others fell three to 16 per cent.