Findings against Bertie ‘digout’ men withdrawn

Mahon tribunal withdraws findings of non-cooperation against Des Richardson and Dermot Carew, who had helped organise collection for Ahern in the 1990s

The Mahon tribunal has withdrawn findings of non-cooperation against two people involved in the financial "digout" to former taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Former Fianna Fáil fundraiser Des Richardson and Dermot Carew had both helped organise the collection for Mr Ahern in the early 1990s. Both had appeared as witnesses before the planning tribunal during the module that investigated Mr Ahern's personal finances.

Mr Richardson and Mr Carew said they were part of a small group of close supporters and friends of Mr Ahern's who agreed to give him personal financial support.

A source close to the two men confirmed to The Irish Times yesterday that Mr Richardson and Mr Carew had received correspondence from the tribunal stating that the findings were now being withdrawn.



The development comes following a successful

High Court

challenge taken by publican

Charlie Chawke

in 2014, in which a finding of non-cooperation on his part by the tribunal was struck down.

One repercussion of a non-cooperation finding was that the witness was obliged to pay their legal costs, which were very substantial in some cases, because of the extent and length of the engagement with the tribunal.

Following the decisions, Mr Richardson and Mr Carew can now make an application to the tribunal for the State to bear their legal costs.

The planning tribunal, which was established in 1997, has had several of its key findings reversed in recent years, in challenges to the superior court.

Two successful challenges in particular, one taken by developer Owen O'Callaghan and another taken by developer Joseph Murphy jnr, led to some adverse conclusions being withdrawn.

Mr Murphy had findings that he hindered the work of the tribunal overturned after his challenge.


The challenges were partly based on the fact that the tribunal had withheld part of statements made by its key witness

James Gogarty

from other witnesses.

As a result, a number of high-profile witnesses had adverse findings withdrawn.

They included George Redmond, Oliver Barry, James Stafford, Thomas Brennan, Joseph McGowan, John Finnegan and interests associated with the Bailey brothers.

Mr Richardson was not contactable for comment yesterday.

It is understood he has appealed a costs issue arising from another aspect of the tribunal’s work.

That appeal is to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times