Reynolds not to give evidence at inquiry

 

THE CHAIRMAN of the Mahon tribunal Judge Alan Mahon has said former taoiseach Albert Reynolds will not be called to give evidence in the Quarryvale II module due to a "significant cognitive impairment".

Mr Reynolds had been listed to appear at least three times in the last few months and on each occasion he was dropped from the list.

Mr Reynolds last night declined to comment in detail on the matter.

"Any remark would have to be made by my solicitor," he told The Irish Times. "I did not even hear what the judge said today. I can only refer you to my solicitor."

Judge Mahon said yesterday that Mr Reynolds's representatives had told the tribunal that based on the evidence of Mr Reynolds's GP and two medical consultants, he was unfit to give further evidence.

He said the tribunal then engaged its own two medical consultants to conduct independent medical examinations.

"Having been presented with detailed information from the five medical experts, including the two consultants engaged by the tribunal, and their essentially unanimous opinion that Mr Reynolds has a significant cognitive impairment which renders him medically unfit to give evidence to this tribunal at this time or within the foreseeable future, the tribunal has decided he will not be called to give evidence," Judge Mahon said.

He also said the tribunal had decided to "reserve the right to review this decision in the event that it receives information which might suggest a change or an improvement in Mr Reynolds's medical condition".

Mr Reynolds may have had to face questions about an allegation made by Luton-based developer Tom Gilmartin that he received £150,000 from Cork developer Owen O'Callaghan. Mr Reynolds has already denied this.

He may also have been questioned about his relationship and contacts with Mr O'Callaghan. The developer had agreed he had a good relationship with Mr Reynolds and that if he wanted to meet him he only had to lift the phone.

Last year, Mr Reynolds publicly dismissed claims made at the tribunal that he had been involved in fundraising activities for Fianna Fáil in the United States during a St Patrick's Day visit in 1994. He also then described Mr Gilmartin's allegation as "utter nonsense".

Judge Mahon also said yesterday that the tribunal expected that all of its public hearings would be concluded in October.

He said the members of the tribunal would then begin to write their report and it was likely this work would continue into 2009.