The tribunal will be required to ascertain whether there were substantial payments, who the donors were, how much was involved, when they were made, whether any of the controversial decisions were made at that time involving that donor and whether, as a consequence, the tribunal believes that either Mr. Haughey or Deputy Lowry did any act or made any decision to confer any benefit on that specific donor in respect of that particular transaction.
Deputy Spring has raised the issue of the party leader’s allowance during Fianna Fáil’s period in Opposition. In so far as I could with little available records I am satisfied, having spoken to the person who administered the account, that it was used for bona fide party purposes, that the cheques were prepared by that person and countersigned by another senior party member. Their purpose was to finance personnel, press and other normal supports for an Opposition leader. There was no surplus and no misappropriation. The person involved had sole control of the account. The money came in, the person lodged the cheque, dealt with the bills and invoices and paid those not covered by the ordinary allowance. The account as far as her excellent recollection goes was normally short, not the other way around. I have spoken to her at some length. She has served many Taoisigh beginning with Mr. Jack Lynch. We consider her to be totally honourable.
That senior party member was one Bertie Ahern.
Of course we now know that none of this is true. Haughey used taxpayers money for his own benefit. And somehow, Ahern never knew.