McDonald calls on Minister Hogan to make a statement on Moriarty Report
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has called on the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to clarify issues relating to his role in the events covered by the Moriarty Report.
The Dublin Central TD was speaking during the continued debate on the Moriarty Report this afternoon.
Deputy McDonald said:
“Minister Hogan was then a key member of the group responsible for organising fund-raising on behalf of Fine Gael. In that capacity he was the conduit for several substantial donations from Denis O’Brien.
“One of the donations he is said to have received was a cheque for £4,000 from Denis O’Brien after a golf classic, which I am happy to see is still a favoured means by which Fine Gael accumulates large amounts of cash from its friends in big business.
“Mark Fitzgerald was also one of those involved in organising those golf classics and he recalls that shortly after one of those events in October 1995 and shortly after Minister Hogan had received the cheque that he met with Minister Hogan and Denis O’Brien, at meeting initiated by Denis O’Brien.
“The transcript of the Tribunal hearing on December 6, 2002 contains the following report of Mr. Fitzgerald’s evidence:
“’Mr. FitzGerald has informed the Tribunal that Mr. O'Brien asked to meet with him for coffee at a restaurant close to Mr. FitzGerald's office. Mr FitzGerald assumed that this might relate to a business matter about which he had shortly before spoken to Mr. O'Brien. Mr. FitzGerald has informed the Tribunal that he was surprised when he arrived to find Mr. O'Brien sitting at a table with Mr. Phil Hogan and the late Mr. Jim Mitchell. As he sat down, Mr. FitzGerald has informed the Tribunal that Mr. O'Brien asked him if he had heard any news on the licence.”
“If that meeting did take place then there are serious questions to be asked and responded to by all of those who were present including Minister Hogan. Here, according to Mr. Fitzgerald, we had a situation in which a person who had donated significant sums of money to one of the government parties was meeting with a government TD and seeking to find out about a license application that was potentially, and indeed proved to be, of immense value to Mr. O’Brien.
“That is something that surely warrants further attention and further clarification from Minister Hogan given that I understand that he claims to have no recollection of that meeting ever having taken place.
“In the light of what we now know and in the overall context of the report of the Moriarty Tribunal and the evidence which it has uncovered in relation to the matter of awarding the GSM licenses, I believe that Minister Hogan ought to further clarify what may or may not have taken place at that time.”