Angry chairman tells Lawlor to answer questions

 

The Dublin West TD, Mr Liam Lawlor, was continually told by an angry chairman yesterday that he was to answer questions and comply with the order of the Supreme Court to furnish information.

Mr Lawlor was asked by Mr John Gallagher SC, for the tribunal, about companies he had listed in his first affidavit to the tribunal with which he had an association dating back to the late 1960s.

Mr Gallagher referred to Irish Refrigeration.

Mr Lawlor replied: "Chairman, could I ask you, I was elected in June 1977, we're talking about engineering companies in the late 60s and early 70s and it's lost on me what is has to do with the terms of reference." The chairman said: "Mr Lawlor, you are here to answer questions not to ask them."

Mr Lawlor again said it had nothing to do with the terms of reference. "I'm entitled to make a point of order." Mr Gallagher said this was not the Dail. Mr Gallagher asked again about the company and asked why he did not say he was a director.

Mr Lawlor said he founded the company. It was a one-man company.

He said it was merged with an international company and ceased trading. He said Coopers and Lybrand were the auditors to the international group.

Mr Gallagher asked if he contacted Coopers and Lybrand to seek information.

Mr Lawlor replied: "I did no such thing because I don't see the relevance to the terms of reference of this tribunal prior to my election."

Mr Gallagher said there were court orders and yet he had not furnished the information.

Mr Lawlor said: "I have given you the fullest information, turned my office upside down, trawling through to provide this information.

"You have 224 bank discoveries, chairman, we're now down to leasing agreements on photocopying machines and mobile phones and so forth and their accounts." Mr Gallagher referred to another company, Economic Reports. Mr Lawlor said it was registered but never traded. Mr Gallagher said that £161,000 was lodged into the company and there were lodgements to the accounts in 1988/89. Mr Lawlor said all the accounts would have been disclosed to the Revenue Commissioners.

Mr Gallagher asked if he would have any objection to the tribunal seeking the information from the Revenue.

Mr Lawlor said there would be no problem. When Mr Gallagher asked again, Mr Lawlor said he would discuss it with his accountants.

The chairman intervened and asked him why he was changing his answer.

Mr Lawlor said he had no reason to change his answer, he just wanted to reflect on it with his accountants.