Tribunal finding that businessmen bribed Ray Burke quashed

Joseph Murphy junior took action on behalf of himself and his late father over Flood report

A file image of  Jospeh  Murphy junior  leaving the Flood Tribunal in Dublin.

A file image of Jospeh Murphy junior leaving the Flood Tribunal in Dublin.

 

The Flood Tribunal finding that Joseph Murphy junior and his father, the late Joseph Murphy, gave a bribe to former government minister Ray Burke, has been quashed.

The development comes more than a decade after the then chairman of the inquiry into corruption in the planning process, Mr Justice Feargus Flood, decided that Mr Murphy jnr had been in attendance at a meeting in Mr Burke’s home in June 1989 where more than £30,000 was handed over, mostly in cash.

He also made findings that the same parties were involved in a corrupt payment to the late George Redmond, the former assistant city and country manager for Dublin.

The contested findings were based on the evidence of the late James Gogarty, a former employee of the Murphy group, and the tribunal has now accepted that material relevant to the credibility of Mr Gogarty had not been given to the Murphys, in breach of their constitutional rights.

Statements from Mr Gorgarty taken in private were either not disclosed or were only disclosed in redacted form, and were relevant to findings made by Mr Justice in 2002.

As recently as February of last year Mr Murphy was given material that had not previously been made available to him.

Mr Burke and Mr Murphy had denied that money was handed over during a meeting in Mr Burke’s home, as alleged by MrGogarty, but Mr Justice Flood opted to believe Mr Gogarty.

The quashing of the findings is the latest blow to one of the State’s longest and most expensive tribunal’s ever and comes just two weeks’ after the Government’s decision to establish the Charleton Tribunal into matters involving senior garda management.

Enormous damage

Addressing the High Court on behalf of the tribunal, John Finlay SC said the adverse findings had generated enormous publicity and had caused enormous damage and distress to the parties affected. The findings were “unlawful”.

Counsel told Mr Justice Seamus Noonan the tribunal had, following submissions in 2015, removed the relevant findings from the reports on the tribunal website.The revised reports were furnished to the Clerk of the Dáil.

A copy of the court order and of the statement breing read to the court were to be supplied to the Clerk of the Dáil with a request that they be brought to the attention of the members of the Oireachtas.

Mr Justice Flood retired in 2003 and was replaced as chairman of the tribunal by Mr Justice Alan Mahon. The tribunal was established in 1997 and published its final report in 2012.

Mr Muphy’s case for damages was based on what his counsel, Michael Cush SC, told the courts last year was a pattern of behaviour on behalf of the tribunal of not giving his client full information on matters bearing on the credibility of his client’s “chief and only accuser”, Mr Gogarty.

The State will now pay the costs of Mr Murphy’s long court battle to have the tribunal’s findings overturned.

Speaking afterwards Mr Murphy said he was glad the matter was over and he and his late father had been vindicated. He had pursued the matter because the corruption allegations were “so far removed” from the values that he and his father operated in business.

The matter of damages was not being pursued “The case is settled. Its all over now. It could run for another four or five years. We’ve been vindicated and I want to get on with my life.”