Second Interim Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments: Motion (Resumed).

The following motion was moved by the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Deputy Cullen on Wednesday, 9 October 2002:
That Dáil Éireann:
– notes the findings of the Interim Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments;
– condemns the actions of those against whom the tribunal has made findings;
– commends the work of Mr. Justice Flood and his legal team; and
– expresses its continuing support for the ongoing work of the tribunal.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann:" and substitute the following:
– condemns the conduct of former Deputy Ray Burke;
– deplores the failure of the Taoiseach to properly investigate the allegations against Ray Burke, prior to appointing him as Minister for Foreign Affairs and to explain why he did not speak to Mr. James Gogarty on the issue;
– calls on the Taoiseach to fully explain the extent to which he was aware of the allegations against Ray Burke before he appointed him to his Government;
– calls on the Tánaiste to disclose details of the assurances given to her by the Taoiseach in relation to Ray Burke which led her to accept Mr. Burke's appointment;
– demands that the Government investigate all Government decisions prompted by Ray Burke when he was a Minister,
– calls on the Taoiseach to provide details of any report or evidence supplied to him by former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds prior to appointing Ray Burke to the senior and sensitive Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
– calls on the Taoiseach to provide details of investigations carried out by his ministerial colleagues into allegations of misconduct by Ray Burke;
– demands that Dáil Éireann now set up a permanent anti-corruption commission and a land development agency commission as proposed by Fine Gael; and
– requests that the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste both answer questions arising from the report for a period of one hour at the conclusion of the debate.
–(Deputy Kenny).

I wish to share my time with Deputy Naughten. I do not take any pleasure in making a contribution to this debate on the issue of the Flood tribunal's interim report into certain planning matters and payments. This is an issue of huge importance. No political report published in my political lifetime has caused such public anger and revulsion. I have read large sections of the report and I understand why this is the case. I commend Mr. Justice Flood for his direct use of language and his ability to go directly to the point with bluntness and relative simplicity, considering the complexities of what his tribunal is investigating.

The contents of this report are a damning description of bribery and corruption at the top of Irish politics and business under the Fianna Fáil banner. The message is clear that there was a time not so long ago when favours could be bought from a certain Minister for commercial end within a golden circle where business, politics, bribery, corruption and profiteering were all intertwined.

Lest anyone listening to this debate thinks I am exaggerating in my description of the contents of this report, I recommend that they read chapter 16, summary of conclusions. In a little over two pages, Mr. Justice Flood outlines his list of evidence and comments in no uncertain terms on the many corrupt activities of Mr. Ray Burke as a councillor, a Deputy and a Minister.

I refer to a number of short extracts from the report to remind people just how damning it is in relation to the former Minister. Chapter 16, under the heading offshore bank accounts, states that a payment of £50,000 sterling on 21 December 1982 was a corrupt payment made by Mr. Tom Brennan to Mr. Burke. It states that a payment of £35,000 sterling to Caviar Limited on 19 April 1984 was a corrupt payment to Mr. Burke, probably made to him by Mr. Tom Brennan and his associates. It further states that a payment of £60,000 sterling to Caviar Limited in November 1984 was a corrupt payment to Mr. Burke and that a payment of £15,000 to the account of Caviar Limited on 19 April 1985 was a corrupt payment to Mr. Burke which was funded jointly by Mr. Tom Brennan and Mr. Joseph McGowan.

When referring to a meeting at Mr. Burke's home and a payment of £80,000, Mr. Justice Flood states that Mr. Burke assured those present at the time of the payment of moneys to him that he understood that the payment was made in connection with the proposal to alter the planning status of the Murphy lands and further assured those present that he would honour his commitment to do so. The report states that the payment received by Mr. Burke amounted to a corrupt payment and all present at the meeting were aware that it was such.

This report has confirmed in the minds of many people their worst fears of just how crooked certain senior politicians were in the past. We have a job to do as politicians to convince people that those murky days are now behind us but the only way to do that is by exposing the whole truth, punishing by law those who deserve it, moving on, learning the lessons of the past and putting safeguards in place to ensure that such events cannot happen in the future. The final part of the Fine Gael motion attempts to do that.

The Flood and Moriarty tribunals are playing a vital role in achieving the first part of this goal – finding the truth. People outside this House may not know it but there are four Deputies in their 20s and six Deputies under the age of 35 in my party, starting out a career in politics with all the right motivations for public service. There are many others in this House who have never met Mr. Ray Burke. I can truthfully say I have never met him, yet we, as politicians of the present and the future, must counteract the cynicism and anger directed at us following the activities of certain people in a different generation of politicians on a daily basis. With this in mind, was it too much to ask the Taoiseach to voluntarily answer questions as part of this debate and to explain why he made the decisions he did in relation to the appointment of Mr. Ray Burke as Minister for Foreign Affairs?

The Taoiseach said yesterday that he had no questions to answer on this matter. Let me tell him that we have questions to ask. If he has nothing to hide, why not, in the interests of transparency and co-operation in this House, of being up front with this country and the electorate who re-elected him as Taoiseach and of the 100,000 people who purchased or downloaded this report, make himself available for an hour or two for an open question and answer session? This is not a time to be obstructive to open debate or to frustrate the Opposition, which has valid questions to try to clear up – questions we have raised in the media and questions being asked in every pub and every political household in the country.

I have responsibility for the area of communications in Fine Gael. Unfortunately, Mr. Burke's corrupt activity was not solely confined to planning matters. While he was Minister for Communications in 1989, he was, as Mr. Justice Flood outlines, also involved in receiving a corrupt payment and acted in the interests of those who paid him, not in the interests of the public who elected him. Again in chapter 16, Mr. Justice Flood gives us a very concise description of Mr. Burke's relationship with the promoters of Century, the corrupt payment he received and the actions he took. I will read into the record exactly what was said. Under the heading Century Radio, the report states:

16-12 The Ministerial Directive obliging RTE to provide its facilities to Century issued by Mr. Burke as Minister for Communications on the 14th March 1989, was issued to advance the private interests of the promoters of Century and not to serve the public interest.

16-13 The payment of £35,000 to Mr. Burke by Mr. Barry on the 26th May 1989 was a corrupt payment made in response to a demand for the £30,000 cash by Mr. Burke, and was not intended by Mr. Barry to be a political donation to Mr. Burke or to Fianna Fáil.

16-14. In proposing legislation which would have had the effect of curbing RTEs advertising, altering the format of 2FM, and diverting broadcasting licence fee income from RTE to independent broadcasters, Mr. Burke was acting in response to demands made of him by the promoters of Century and was not serving the public interest.

16-15 The payment of £35,000 to Mr. Burke by Mr. Barry ensured that he was available to serve the interests of Century's promoters, as is evidenced by his willingness to meet with their bankers and to give them assurances that he would take steps, including, if necessary, the introduction of legislation which would be to Century's financial benefit.

The difference between corrupt decision making relating to zoning matters and decisions relating to Century Radio is that ministerial directives and the proposing of legislation require Cabinet approval and carry collective responsibility. I ask the Taoiseach whether anybody raised an eyebrow at Mr. Burke's favourable treatment of Century Radio at the time and the curbing of RTE's ability to raise revenue. In the light of what we have heard from Mr. Justice Flood, will the Taoiseach instigate investigations into other key directives or decisions made by the then Minister, Mr. Burke? If a corrupt payment was accepted in return for ministerial decisions in the broadcasting area, is it not reasonable to at least ask questions about other decisions made by Mr. Ray Burke and the motivations for these decisions when he was a Minister – for example, the circumstances surrounding the changes made to oil and gas exploration licensing when he was Minister for Energy and Communications?

These are the type of issues we, as an Opposition, wish to tease out with the Taoiseach by way of a question and answer session in this House, but he has refused to do that. There is now no provision to ask supplementary questions. If we are not clear on the answers provided to us in the prepared script which the Taoiseach will read, we have no facility to come back and question him. We cannot, therefore, do our job as an Opposition and hold the Taoiseach to account for decisions he and his Governments have taken in the past.

The signal going out to the public from this debate is that politicians will not answer straight questions and will not give straight answers. Mr. Justice Flood has served the public well in his work and in the publication of this report by shining a bright light into a dark corner of shady political dealings in the recent past. Unfortunately, the Taoiseach is not helping his cause with his attitude towards this debate.

I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate. "He always tried to do the right thing and do it by the rules. History will judge him for his achievements, not unsubstantiated innuendo that may well fall away now that its purpose has been achieved." Those were the comments of the Taoiseach in this House on 8 October 1997. The Taoiseach was speaking of the same individual who was found by Mr. Justice Flood to be corrupt and to have acted in a corrupt manner.

The Taoiseach claims that there was no evidence of corruption surrounding Ray Burke at the time of his appointment, yet on three separate occasions over three decades there were major exposés in national publications raising serious questions about Ray Burke and the issue of planning which go back to 1974, 28 years ago.

In November 1994 the former Taoiseach, Mr. Albert Reynolds, warned the Taoiseach not to appoint Ray Burke. He provided the Taoiseach with information which concerned Mr. Reynolds and which was enough not to appoint Mr. Burke in 1992. This should have set the alarm bells ringing. Mr. Reynolds also referred the Taoiseach to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the then Minister for Justice, who expressed her concerns. Deputy Michael Smith had previously carried out an investigation into land rezoning and subsequently declared that land rezoning in the Dublin area had become a bankrupt currency. This report has shown how correct Deputy Smith was.

The Taoiseach also knew, prior to Mr. Burke's appointment in 1997, that he had received €100,000 in today's terms from JMSE, but the damning indictment was the fact that while Ray Burke told the Taoiseach that he had received the money, at the same time a JMSE executive, Joseph Murphy Jr., stated that he had not given this money to Mr. Burke in evidence given to Deputy Dermot Ahern when he met Mr. Murphy Jr. in London. It is incomprehensible why the Taoiseach's alarm bells did not ring when he had a stark contradiction regarding the information which was provided to him by Mr. Ray Burke and Deputy Dermot Ahern. How did he square the circle? He must tell us. Why did he not resolve this issue prior to Mr. Burke's appointment? Why did he not meet with Mr. James Gogarty about the claims he had made? This is the key flaw in the Taoiseach's defence. Would he not have checked with Fianna Fáil headquarters as to the source of the £10,000 donation from Ray Burke? Surely, if there was a question mark over from whom Mr. Burke had received it, he should have checked that with the party. However, the Taoiseach claims that he did not ask the question. If he had, he would have found out that the £10,000 came from Rennicks and not JMSE.

In the Dáil on 28 May 1998, speaking on whether the Taoiseach knew of the £30,000 payment to Ray Burke prior to his appointment, he gave three different accounts of the story in the same debate. Initially he stated:

On the day I appointed the then Deputy Burke as Minister I was working on the understanding that no money had been given to him.

In his second explanation, referring to Mr. Burke, he stated:

I cannot recall if I asked him if he received money from Murphys or JMSE. I was more worried as to what it was all about. In terms of any discussions I would have had with him, he did not tell me about that contribution.

In the same debate, he later stated:

Ray Burke told me the story before he came into this House to make the statement. The fact was I then knew that Ray Burke had received a contribution of £30,000.

We want the Taoiseach to clarify his position regarding the three contradictory statements that he gave the House on 28 may 1998.

On 8 October 1997, he told the House that there was still an element of uncertainty as to the sum invested in the Mahfouz passport case, which was directly handled by Mr Ray Burke. In addition, the then Minister, Máire Geoghegan- Quinn, when she investigated, raised serious concerns regarding those passports and questioned whether they should be withdrawn or not. The Taoiseach stated in the House on that occasion that he had no difficulty in having this, or any other aspect of this matter, further examined.

I ask the Taoiseach to account for the supposed £20 million that was proposed to be invested in businesses in this country. He has had enough time over the past five years to check this out and investigate it thoroughly. Of the £20 million, up to £9 million, or €11.4 million, remains unaccounted for. Of the £11 million pounds invested here, £2 million was invested in the equestrian centre in Millstreet yet Noel C. Duggan denies ever receiving the sum. There is a further discrepancy in relation to that. Mr. Duggan's denial should have sent alarm bells ringing for the Taoiseach.

Yesterday in the House the Taoiseach stated that he was not prepared to answer questions directly as it would set a precedent. He was not prepared to set down the standard for transparency and accountability in the Dáil and this has resulted in the frustration on this side and among the public about the lack of answers from him. This tribunal has set a new precedent, which is the finding of corruption by a Minister appointed by this House and nominated by the Taoiseach. That puts a black mark on each and every one of us in this House. Some may pass this off, but many new Members on both sides of the House are being tarred by the same brush as Ray Burke. To ensure clarity, accountability and transparency, the Taoiseach should answer questions. This report has set a precedent because never before in the State's history has any Minister been found to have acted in a corrupt manner, and that Minister was appointed by the Taoiseach. There were serious question marks over that Minister prior to his appointment. The previous Taoiseach and leader of the Fianna Fáil Party provided the Taoiseach with information and expressed concerns about Mr. Burke.

One issue, which I expect Deputy Michael Smith, the Minister for Defence, can throw some light on in his contribution today, is the decision to tax designate the Golden Island site. This issue has been teased out in every pub in Athlone over the past ten years. I ask the Minister to clarify how a greenfield site out of town was designated for the purposes of tax relief when the Labour Party had walked out of Government and against the advice of his departmental officials. I ask him to clarify that matter.

It is fundamentally important that light is thrown on this issue which has raised serious concerns and led to the decline of Athlone town centre.

The publication of the report of the Flood tribunal marks the beginning of a new era in Irish politics. It has established the facts. Documents have been obtained through discovery, witnesses have been cross-examined and banks have been required to deliver up private accounts. Clear and conclusive findings of corruption have now been made. The report is a resounding statement of this State's determination to root out and expose corruption. In this Republic nobody is above or beyond the law.

Mr. Justice Flood has already referred his report to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and it raises issues within the remit of a number of statutory agencies including the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Revenue Commissioners. The steps that will be taken by these agencies of the State – which are invested with statutory powers – will mark the next phase in the process of rooting out corruption in public life. Some of those who acted corruptly went to extraordinary lengths to cover their tracks, but the veil of secrecy has at last been torn down. Corruption has been exposed in the unforgiving light of day. We owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Justice Flood. On behalf of the Government, the Fianna Fáil Party, and my own behalf, I convey our deep gratitude.

Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats promised to lay down a fair and honest basis for the conduct of Irish public life. In Government, we proposed and the Oireachtas agreed to the establishment of the tribunals. The interim report of the tribunal is a report to this House. It is a valuable lesson on the past and a wise warning for the future. Politics is about public service first and last. It is not about personal profit. It is not about power for powers sake. It is about doing the people's business honestly and openly. It is about cherishing a deep respect for the trust our neighbours and community gave us when they sent us here on their behalf.

The first challenge that faced the last Dáil was to ensure that the Flood tribunal proceeded with its work. That was done with great effect. The challenge facing us now is how to respond appropriately to the findings of Mr. Justice Flood. Words are no substitute for action. This Government is determined upon appropriate action. I have already indicated that it is the intention of the Government to ensure the rapid enactment of legislation to provide for a corruption assets bureau. The principal elements of the legislation will be as follows: the creation of a specially trained and dedicated unit devoted to the recovery of assets obtained through corruption or whose value has been enhanced by corruption; a power for the High Court to appoint inspectors to examine the affairs of individuals or companies suspected of involvement in corruption; the entitlement of a senior Garda officer who is applying to the High Court for the appointment of an inspector, to form an opinion on the existence of corruption based on the contents of a tribunal report, regardless of when that report was published; and the indexing of the value of assets corruptly obtained or purchased with the proceeds of corruption so that the amount which is forfeited is the present day value of those assets. This new law will operate as a civil remedy. It will apply to corrupt acts both before and after enactment of this legislation. It will also apply to the report of a tribunal issued before the passing of the Act. This new legislative framework, underpinned by a determination to rebuild confidence in politics, is the good that has already come out of Flood and other inquires.

Our society is changing rapidly. It is coming to terms with change in a way that has few parallels in other democracies. The Government has initiated the most far reaching inquiries, not only in the history of this State, but in the recent history of most democratic countries. We are determined to find the truth, whatever it is. In Government we have established: Flood to inquire into payments to politicians, Moriarty to inquire into payments to politicians, Lindsay to inquire into the contamination of blood products, Costello to inquire into the Ansbacher accounts, Dunne to inquire into organ retention in our hospitals, Blaney to inquire into irregularities at National Irish Bank, Murphy to inquire into abuse in swimming, Laffoy to inquire into childhood abuse, Barr to inquire into Abbeylara and Morris to inquire into events in Donegal.

Lessons are being learnt and times are changing. It is one of the proudest achievements of the last Government that it put in place a modern and comprehensive legislative framework for the conduct of public affairs for the future. To illustrate the elements of the effective regulatory regime now in place for the enforcement of proper ethical standards in politics, I refer among other important legislation passed to a number of Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts in 1997 and 1998, Electoral (Amendment) Acts, 1998 and 2001, the Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act, 1999, the Standards in Public Office Act, 2001, the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2001 and the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act, 2001.

Of particular importance is the fact that the Standards in Public Office Commission is empowered to carry out inquires and investigations into the conduct of politicians and those in public life. The commission is chaired by a High Court judge and has powers to order the production of documentation and information. It is a permanent statutory body set up to monitor, investigate and regulate the conduct of those elected to serve the people. This is to ensure the maintenance of high standards in public office. The requirement of this Act imposed on politicians and others is to have their tax affairs in order and to swear a statutory declaration that this is so. This was a recommendation made by Fianna Fáil to the McCracken tribunal. It is now the law of the land. An independent and powerful Standards in Public Office Commission is the best guarantee that what has happened in the past is unlikely to happen again in the future. The general election for the 29th Dáil on 17 May was the first time the people went to the polls with this new legislative framework in operation. It is a framework for disclosure and provides for accountability in the future.

Before referring in more detail to the appointment of Mr. Burke I wish to make a general comment about the exposure of those in public life to rumour and innuendo. Slightly over two and a half years ago a very serious allegation of corruption was made against me by Mr. Denis "Starry" O'Brien. The suggestion that I had been paid the sum of £50,000, as a bribe, in the car park of the Burlington Hotel, received massive publicity. It was carried in a Sunday newspaper and covered extensively in other national media. The finger of blame was pointed firmly at me. The rumour machine was in overdrive and the speculation, directed against my character was rampant. However, as we all know, this allegation was baseless, as was established firmly and conclusively in a court of law. If others had formed a judgment about me based on the rumours disseminated by the media and Mr. "Starry" O'Brien, would I have been judged fit to continue in office as Taoiseach?

More malicious rumours were trotted out by Deputy Enda Kenny as recently as last night. In my absence, Deputy Kenny insinuated that there might be some truth in a rumour that I accepted large bribes between 1989 and 1992. I made my position on this matter crystal clear: I have never received a bribe in my life. It is sad to see that Fine Gael has grown so desperate that it has sunk to recycling discredited rumour.


Hear, hear.

Likewise, Deputy Quinn this morning made yet again another baseless allegation against me in relation to Elan. I am neither the first nor the last politician to be the subject of baseless rumours. All of us in political life have long since learned not to judge our colleagues on rumour, but on firm evidence and proven facts. It is neither fair nor just to ruin the career of or pour scorn on any individual on the basis of unsubstantiated rumour or speculation. Political life would rapidly become impossible on all sides of the House if it were sufficient to make an unfounded allegation to force someone out of public life.

We are a society based on the rule of law. Accusation is not the same as proof. Speculation is not equivalent to evidence. Every citizen is entitled to the presumption of innocence until his wrongdoing is proven. Tribunals establish the facts having examined all of the evidence obtained by the exercise of statutory powers that are backed up by the criminal law and the contempt jurisdiction of the High Court.

I have been criticised for appointing Ray Burke to the Cabinet in 1997. My decision at the time was a bona fide one based on Mr. Burke's undisputed political abilities, his categorical assurances that he had done nothing wrong and my own inquiries. The fact that I subsequently described him as "an honourable man" shows that I genuinely believed the assurances of Mr. Burke when I questioned him.

I want to outline the inquiries that were carried out in respect of rumours and media allegations concerning the payment of moneys in relation to planning matters. All of these are the issues I gave to the Flood tribunal. Prior to the formation of the last Government I spoke with Ray Burke on several occasions about these allegations. He assured me that he had done nothing wrong in relation to any political donation. Mr. Burke stated that, in the context of the 1989 election, he had received a political donation in the sum of £30,000 from a building firm and that he had done nothing wrong in respect of that donation. In addition, the matter was raised with JMSE, Bovale and a number of party members in Dublin. Aside from unsubstantiated rumour, I had no evidence that Mr. Burke engaged in any act of corruption.

Shortly before the appointment of Mr. Burke, I had a meeting with the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána who I met in connection with, among other things, a briefing on my own security arrangements as Taoiseach elect and for the transport arrangements for the new Cabinet. In the course of that conversation with the Commissioner I took the opportunity to raise with him the issue of allegations of wrongdoing, that had been referred to by Donnelly, Neary, Donnelly, Solicitors, Newry, in respect of the planning process and I asked him if he was aware of the position on any such matters relating to Mr. Burke. I had a subsequent telephone call from the Commissioner who had looked into the investigations of such allegations and, in the light of what I was told by him in respect of Ray Burke and planning matters, my assessment was confirmed that the rumours relating to him were unsubstantiated. I was, therefore, satisfied to proceed with his appointment.

I have been queried as to why I did not interview James Gogarty prior to the appointment of Mr. Burke. I was told that Mr. Gogarty was at that time refusing to sign any statement for the gardaí. To have sought to interview Mr. Gogarty at this time would not have been prudent or proper.

In relation to Mr. Joseph Murphy Jnr's denial of a payment by JMSE, I must comment as follows. It was not for me to speculate as to the internal or company reasons for Mr. Murphy's denial in person to Deputy Ahern or any payment of £30,000 to Mr. Burke. The fact is that Ray Burke accepted that he had received this money.

It is now clear that I was misled, as was this House, by Ray Burke. Since the tribunal's interim report was published, I have made clear my position. I have condemned the corrupt activities and expressed my sense of betrayal. On the day the interim Flood report was issued I agreed with an interviewer that it was a damning indictment of Ray Burke. On the Sunday following the report I repeatedly expressed the sense of betrayal and disgust felt by Fianna Fáil at the matters which had been disclosed. On the following two days I reiterated, in different statements to RTE, my condemnation and the sense of betrayal I felt as Taoiseach.

I want to reiterate a point I have made repeatedly since the publication of Mr. Justice Flood's latest report. That point is that of course I would not have appointed Ray Burke to Cabinet if I knew then what we know now. Given the knowledge revealed by Mr. Justice Flood, the judgment of hindsight is clear—

Will the Taoiseach give way to a question?

However, one's judgment at any given time is formed on the basis of what one believes is true at the time—

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle

Does the Taoiseach accede to the request of the Deputy to put a question?

The Taoiseach is refusing to answer questions. There is a surprise.

One's judgment at any given time is formed on the basis of what one believes is true at the time and the evidence then available. My reasons for appointing Ray Burke as Minister for Foreign Affairs have been previously stated. On 3 June 1998 I told this House what those reasons were. I said:

The first question I am asked is why I appointed Mr. Burke Minister for Foreign Affairs last June. Mr. Burke was an experienced and capable Minister who had participated in an earlier phase of the talks process and in the work of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. As Leader of the Opposition, I had worked very well with him on Northern Ireland and European matters, where his judgment was very good. He was eminently qualified for the job of Minister for Foreign Affairs. When we came into office, I remind Deputies that there was no renewed IRA ceasefire and the talks had been stalled and going nowhere for over 12 months. Even in the short time that he was Minister he made his mark and, working well with the Secretary of State, Dr. Mo Mowlam, we had arrived at a situation by the end of September where both the Ulster Unionists and Sinn Fein were sitting around the same table with others within weeks of a new IRA ceasefire. His decision to resign shortly afterwards was sincerely regretted by most of the talks participants.

His political abilities were well known and recognised. On Mr. Burke's appointment the former Taoiseach, Deputy Bruton, said that Mr. Burke was "qualified to hold any office". Mr. Burke's predecessor as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dick Spring, said he was a "strong willed and able" politician. The current leader of the Green Party, Deputy Sargent, welcomed Mr. Burke's appointment. Not one Deputy expressed any reservation about Mr. Burke's appointment, despite lengthy contributions from Deputy Rabbitte, Deputy Michael D. Higgins and others. Even when, on 10 September 1997, Mr. Burke made his statement to the House concerning the payment of £30,000, there was no demand from the Opposition for his resignation.

I must now take the opportunity to put right seriously misleading comments made about me in recent weeks. Deputy Ruairi Quinn, Deputy Kenny and others have stated l have misled the House and the public as to whether I was aware at the time of Mr. Burke's appointment of the payment of £30,000 to him. On a number of occasions Deputy Quinn has quoted one particular passage of my speech to the House on 28 May 1998. It is clear from the overall context of my remarks to the Dáil on that day that I had disclosed my knowledge of the £30,000 payment at the time of the appointment. This is a point I have sought to have had clarified on my behalf from as far back as 1999, which is well recorded, and as recently as last week on the RTE programme, "Prime Time". I was aware that Mr. Burke had received this money before I appointed him. I informed the Tánaiste of this fact prior to the announcement of the Cabinet. I have repeatedly disclosed this state of knowledge on my part.

In The Irish Times of 21 July 1997 I am recorded as having said I was satisfied “with the circumstances surrounding the nature of the donation of £30,000 by a building firm” to Mr. Burke. On 23 May 1997, during the course of the general election, I told one leading journalist that I had “gone through it in detail on four separate occasions as the allegations continued to come up in one newspaper.” On 29 September 1997 I again confirmed my knowledge about this £30,000. The Irish Times records as follows:

I asked Ray Burke back in the summer before I set up the Cabinet about this story about the £30,000 and he assured me at that particular time that he had received this money but that he had done nothing for the company and he was involved in nothing wrong.

The first point I wish to make in relation to passports issued by Ray Burke, as Minister for Justice, is that these are not the subject of the second interim report by Mr. Justice Flood. I will come back to the significance of this. In November 1998 the Government, of which I was Taoiseach, arranged to forward to the Moriarty tribunal 160 files which related to the issuing of passports to investors. They included the passports which had been the subject of recent speculation concerning the role of Mr. Ray Burke. The Flood tribunal is empowered, by its terms of reference, to investigate any decision made by Mr. Burke which could involve corruption. It is quite clear this is not a point understood by Members of the House which will have an opportunity to debate the passport issue in the context of the reports from the tribunals established by this House and the Seanad.

I wish to confirm what I have previously said, that I read a note on the passport files in respect of passports issued by Mr. Burke. I did this in 1994. There was nothing on the files that suggested that any corrupt actions by Mr. Burke lay behind the unusual course followed by his Department. No evidence of any such corruption was ever brought to my attention. Moreover, as the House is aware, the Minister for Justice in late 1994 and up and until June 1997 was former Deputy Nora Owen. She carried out an investigation in relation to the issue of these passports. It is reasonable to assume that if any evidence of corruption or impropriety had been established by that investigation, the matter would have been pursued by the Minister with vigour and diligence. So far as I am aware, no further steps were taken by the Minister in respect of the review of the files as part of the investigation other than to attempt to ensure the passport holders were held to their investment commitments.

I do, however, wish to sound a note of caution in relation to this issue. The House can consider the passports issue in due course and in the context of further reports from the tribunals. It is clear from the judgment of His Honour Judge Haugh in the case of the DPP v. Charles Haughey that comments in this House, in particular, on matters not the subject of a tribunal's report can be of sufficient prejudicial nature so as to prevent a trial proceeding. Having regard to the fact that there is currently a series of criminal investigations into matters covered by the Flood tribunal report I propose to confine my remarks on this issue to what I have said today. I do not believe the people, or this House, would thank me if, in the heat of debate, remarks were made which resulted in a prosecution being thwarted.

Deputy Kenny last night raised a series of questions, none of which has anything to do with this report. I have previously dealt with all of them, either inside or outside the House. I am happy to make my office available to Deputy Kenny to point him to the record again.

Irish politics is undergoing a period of profound change. The uncovering of a previously hidden and unacceptable past has undermined confidence in the administration of our affairs. For politics to recover the confidence of the people the facts must be laid bare – and they are. The appropriate lessons must be learned – and they are. Politics is only one aspect of our national life to come under an increasingly critical scrutiny. A succession of revelations about many areas of Irish life previously held in largely uncritical esteem is profoundly changing our cul ture. Increasingly, Ireland is a confident, critical and questioning country. This is good, good for our people and our future.

For us who have the honour to serve in public life we have a duty to make good the aspirations of the people who elected us. The past must be accounted for and those who have transgressed must face justice as prescribed by law. For the present we who serve in public life must conduct ourselves in a way that fully respects the trust we have been given by the people. For the future we must ensure it is as difficult as is humanly possible to repeat the corruption of the past. It is only by learning the lessons of history that we can hope to avoid repeating them. It is only by enforcing accountability that we can hope to provide credibility for the future.

In this Republic elected office is the highest trust any citizen can have. The tribunals of inquiry and the laws that have been passed to take account of the events they are investigating are manifest proof that we who are in politics now take that trust very seriously. The publication of the second—

Is the Taoiseach prepared to take questions relevant to him arising from the Flood report during Taoiseach's Question Time, as other Ministers are answering questions relevant to the report?

Yesterday during leaders' questions I answered questions that were relevant. The procedures were followed. Deputy Kenny asked me a number of questions yesterday and I answered them. As I said, I cannot answer questions in relation to a report—

Another Minister took questions yesterday in relation to the communications brief arising from the Flood report—

If the questions are in my domain or that of my Department or related to my personal involvement as Taoiseach—

The Taoiseach will answer?

I am not responsible for passports or Golden Island and I am not responsible for—

The Taoiseach is responsible for the country.

The answers to all issues are on the record of this House. The only issue not yet answered on the record is the one that arose about Elan, but unfortunately Deputy Quinn is not here. When I agree to do an opening, I do not ask the general manager of one of our largest multinationals if he has board approval. I do not ask him if a sub-committee of the board was involved. I do not ring up the chairman of the board in America to ask him if his general manager—

Who happens to be a good supporter of Fianna Fáil.

—has an answer. I assume that when a company the size of Elan—

That is the problem. The Taoiseach does not ask questions.

The Taoiseach, without interruption.

The trouble with the people opposite is that when they ask a question, they never want to hear the answer. They are a great success at asking questions but they do not want to hear the answers because that does not suit them. They are only good at the old Fine Gael tradition – digging up the dirt. I was asked a question. Can I answer it?


Order please. The Taoiseach without interruption. Please allow the Taoiseach to conclude.

Before I was rudely interrupted I was making the point that the only question raised in this House which I had not already answered on the record was the question of Elan. It is proper for the Taoiseach of the day to assume that if a company the size of Elan, and I know about all the difficulties it has had, buys a premises in Macroom and if the general manager asks all the senior management and myself to attend, it has not done that just for a bit of fun in Macroom. That was a base allegation for the leader of the Labour Party to make and if he had any manners he would be here to apologise for making it.

The publication of the second interim report of the Flood tribunal is not the end, but only the end of the beginning of a long process. It is a process that will eventually succeed in restoring the trust and respect of the Irish people in the conduct of our public life.

On a point of order, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

What is the point of order?

Arising from the Taoiseach's comments, will he answer the question put to him by Deputy Quinn when the Deputy is in the House next week?

That is not a point of order.

He should be here now.

I call Deputy Penrose.

The Taoiseach is leaving the House and we have not got an answer. He has left the pitch.

I wish to share my time with Deputies McManus and Costello, giving five minutes to each Deputy.

I am glad to have the opportunity to contribute to this debate on the interim report of the Flood tribunal. In dealing with the issue of the Flood tribunal report, it is obviously not desirable to make any comment or criticism of the individuals mentioned in the report because one would not wish to prejudice any steps that might be taken by other bodies in the follow up to the report's conclusion or recommendations. I am taking full cognisance of the dicta of Mr. Justice Haugh in the Haughey case, and obviously this matter is now subject to investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Revenue Commissioners, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Director of Public Prosecutions, who I understand is examining the report.

At the outset I would like to congratulate the Honourable Mr. Justice Feargus Flood on producing an incisive interim report on matters at issue and for articulating his conclusions with great precision and without fear or favour. There have been criticisms in the public and in the media over the past number of years of the role of public tribunals and their suitability to dealing with such matters as those which the Flood tribunal is addressing. This interim report from Mr. Justice Flood should allay, and indeed remove, any public concern there may have been about this question.

On reading the report I was taken aback at the almost surreal details that emerged from the investigation by Mr. Justice Flood's tribunal staff of the matters under investigation. My colleagues will deal with individual aspects of that, but there was nothing surreal about the conclusions Mr. Justice Flood reached, which were summarised in the report and stated so firmly, without qualification or equivocation. I totally concur with the view that the findings in the Flood report represent a severe blow to the political system.

Dealing with land use and planning is a complex issue but once it is utterly transparent and fair, and the essential principles of probity are upheld, and are seen to be upheld, the community affected must have a real input to ensure they are satisfied that the vision they set out in the development plans are right and proper for the particular circumstances of the areas. In relation to village plans and areas like that, people are entitled to have a major say and cognisance should be taken of their views so that they are adequately and centrally reflected in any plan brought forward.

Regard also must be had concerning plans and zoning in a national spatial strategy so that local plans can complement and be an integral part of such a strategy and not be at variance with the essential principles of a spatial plan. However, the Government has been asleep in that regard over the past few years. Projects were put forward which could be considered to be out of sync with what is required of a national spatial strategy. The Labour Party put forward a clear and precise national spatial strategy so that one can have a hand in glove approach to planning and project siting. Unfortunately, we did not have such a spatial strategy and we ended up taking the cart before the horse approach to planning, and that is where the Government will stand indicted.

It is a sad day when one's vote for a particular decision can be bought and sold. If that scenario were to be followed, only wealthy people would be in a position to exercise the most influence and the people at the bottom, about whom my colleague, Deputy Burton, spoke on many occasions, are left holding the can when estates are not finished, etc.

The tribunal has taken a considerable time to reach the conclusions contained in this interim report. Understandably we have all been impatient as the saga unfolded in our daily newspapers and in other media to hear what Mr. Justice Flood would conclude, but due process required that the tribunal took the time necessary to discover the evidence which would enable it to reach such firm judgments and to express such unambiguous conclusions. Our impatience, while understandable, was not justified and the due process of the Flood tribunal has been fully vindicated.

There has also been extensive public comment about the costs incurred in the work of the public tribunals, including the Flood tribunal, and concern about value for money considerations. As a lawyer, and I must declare that interest, I am aware that legal costs are a significant component of tribunal costs but it may not be considered appropriate that I would comment on this issue. As an elected Member of this House, however, I want to ensure that the public interest is properly and justly served by all the institutions of the State.

The return which the Flood tribunal has provided to our country is incalculable. It cannot be measured just in euro and cents. We are blessed with a system of values and a set of standards which everyone in this House has an obligation to defend and uphold. These values and standards have been under some threat in an Ireland where selfishness, rather than concern for neighbours, threatens to become the norm and where the benefit to the individual, rather than the good of society, could become the prevailing ethos. The Honourable Mr. Justice Flood has put a shot across the bows of those who would seek to progress along this line, and reducing capital gains tax from 40% to 20% represents exactly that.

It is fair to question the implications for the planning process arising from Mr. Justice Flood's interim report. I am utterly committed, as is the Labour Party, to a system of local democracy where decisions on issues such as planning are taken as close to the people directly affected as possible. Local authorities, which have a close knowledge of local conditions, are the appropriate bodies to take planning decisions affecting their communities. The checks and balances of the appeals process through An Bord Pleanála are likewise essential but when the planning process can be suborned, as indicated in this interim report of the tribunal, other checks and controls must be introduced to deal with the issues arising.

The most striking aspect of the Flood report is the public interest it has generated. Mr. Justice Flood can easily rival Roy Keane's claim to best-seller of 2002. The hurrah from the plain people of Ireland for Mr. Justice Flood is that he has laid down a clear marker that nobody is above the law, regardless of the signals to the contrary over the past decade.

Two findings stand out in the report. First, on page 53, the report bluntly states that the Century payment to Burke was a bribe. The Director of Public Prosecutions has to decide if this merits prosecution, and this is his sole prerogative, but this Parliament has its own decision to make when a tribunal it has established comes to this conclusion. In the rare event that a former Minister is judged by a tribunal or court to have so abused his powers by accepting a bribe, his pension as a Minister should be forfeited. Such deprivation of pension is not a punishment to be lightly or capriciously meted out, but when a tribunal has judged as clearly as Flood has done that a bribe was received, the punishment must fit the offence.

The second matter that stands out is the judgment on the Burke home. The judge concludes that the house was given to Mr. Burke as a benefit with an improper motive. Mr. Burke has sold this property for close to €4 million. He is living off immoral earnings in comparative luxury because he got a free house from a building company to keep him onside in their dealings with the planning authorities. Can the Taoiseach say whether Mr. Burke will retain these benefits?

I come now to the evidence of Mr. Tom Savage. Mr. Savage is a true-blue member of the Fianna Fáil family. He reports that he advised the former Taoiseach, Mr. Albert Reynolds, that Ray Burke should not be reappointed to Government. During the Seán O'Rourke interview last week he instanced two clients who had reported to him improper demands for money to secure planning advantages. Mr. Reynolds asserts he passed whatever information he had to the Taoiseach at the time of the handover of the Fianna Fáil leadership in 1994. It would be relevant to ask the Taoiseach what he knew in early 1995 when he decided to reverse the Reynolds political exile order on Mr. Burke and bring him back to the most delicate Front Bench slot possible.

It is indisputable that within the Fianna Fáil family enough was known to make any return to favour for Mr. Burke unwise and reckless. The Taoiseach was adequately warned that dangers lay ahead. The rot set in at that point, in 1995, when the Front Bench was nominated. With Ray Burke in such a delicate position as spokesperson, it was inevitable that he would be in pole position if Fianna Fáil were ever to return to Government. The Taoiseach claims he had only three weeks after the 1997 election to choose his Cabinet. This is untrue. He had the full two and a half years of his spell in Opposition to check out the Reynolds information. He did not bother and that was reckless. We all now have to live with the results of that recklessness.

When I made a mild protest at the goings on in the area of planning in County Dublin, I encountered a vicious reaction. For days a procession of motorcycle couriers arrived at my door delivering one libel writ after another. By the end of the week a total of 42 had arrived. I recall that one of the couriers demanded rather peremptorily to see Mrs. Bruton and when I replied that she lived in Dunboyne, he drove off in high dudgeon. He came back an hour later with the writ properly readdressed. What were these people, in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, so afraid of simply because a junior Minister, in very mild terms, asked whether there were improper influences at work? I ask the Taoiseach, and Deputy Kenny as leader of Fine Gael, to answer why, to this day, I have received neither an apology nor an explanation for all the trauma I and my family were put through?

I will leave it to Deputy Quinn to deal with the unwarranted and unworthy attack the Taoiseach made just now. The Taoiseach did not, in his statement, answer questions that he was asked very clearly. For example, my colleague, Deputy Moynihan-Cronin, asked how many of the people listed in the report as having obstructed, hindered or failed to co-operate with the tribunal were or are members of the Fianna Fáil Party; that answer was not given. How many, if any, of the people on that list have made financial contributions to Fianna Fáil since the Flood tribunal was established? That was not answered either. It is clear that the Taoiseach is refusing to face up to his responsibilities. The Flood report has found that in 1989 Raphael Burke received corrupt payments. For the first time ever, the tribunal determined that a Government Minister had acted corruptly. The amount paid to Mr. Burke that year probably exceeded £100,000. We know of three payments already. It was election year and Mr. Burke vainly tried to argue that these were political payments.

It is worth reminding ourselves why that election was called. It was called because the Government collapsed over its refusal to provide compensation to haemophiliacs who had had their lives destroyed through contaminated blood products. This compensation, at the time, added up to a couple of hundred thousand pounds. Political corruption and political callousness were the two features of that Fianna Fáil Government in 1989. There is a terrible symmetry now as the Lindsay report, which covers the extent of the wrong done to those tragic people, was published almost simultaneously with the Flood report, which shows the wrong done to the public good by private avarice and illegality.

The Taoiseach, Deputy Ahern, is the leader of our nation's Government and his position demands good judgment, full accountability and a willingness to shoulder responsibility. Yet the Taoiseach has shown none of these qualities. Since the publication of the Flood report his actions as Taoiseach have been abject, even cowardly. Initially, outside this House, he responded by claiming that he was the person responsible for setting up the Flood tribunal. Then yesterday inside the House he claimed that he had nothing to answer for, that he had no significant place in the findings. As a consequence he has refused to participate in a question and answer session and he has refused to answer questions put to him legitimately.

It is not true to say that he was responsible for setting up the tribunal. Everybody knows that Fianna Fáil came kicking and screaming to an agreement on this tribunal. He certainly cannot hide behind the assertion that had he known what he knows now, he would not have appointed Ray Burke. Had Fianna Fáil at the time had another leader, Mr. Burke would not have been made a Minister. If Albert Reynolds, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn or even the Minister, Deputy Michael Smith, who is here now and talked about the debasement of planning in Dublin, had been leader, Ray Burke would not have been appointed a Minister. They were aware of the concerns about Mr. Burke, the allegations and the serious questions.

In view of the close relationship between the Taoiseach and Mr. Burke, which extends back over 25 years, the question must be answered: why did the Taoiseach make the appointment against wise counsel and common sense? Why has there been no reply to the question put to him about the donation given to Ray Burke and denied by JMSE and his failure to investigate the matter? Why did the alarm bells not ring when the person who received the donation, who was under serious suspicion, admitted to the payment and the donor said there had been none? Why did the Taoiseach not start to investigate the reasons for that anomaly?

Deviousness and cunning were characteristics attributed to the Taoiseach by his mentor, C. J. Haughey. Certainly, his fudging and obfuscation have got him out of tight corners before now. He should be aware, however, that the crystal clarity of the findings of the Flood tribunal have resulted in a requirement to be forthcoming with the facts. Even if members of the Taoiseach's party are unaware of this new reality, the people outside this House are only too aware that they have waited long enough for the full truth to come out.

I pay tribute to Mr. Justice Flood for the fine interim report he has produced and to Colm Mac Eochaidh and Michael Smith who started the ball rolling, but particularly to James Gogarty, who opened the floodgates. I propose that Mr. Gogarty be given the freedom of the city of Dublin for services rendered to the citizens of Dublin in the area of planning and rezoning.

I second that proposal.

Mr. Gogarty was the whistleblower. He was the key figure, the hero. He was the octogenarian who stood up in Dublin Castle day after day, week after week, month after month, giving evidence and subjecting himself to very severe cross-examination. He is the person who will have changed utterly the planning and rezoning process in Dublin and the country. For that we should give him the freedom of the city.

The Flood report clearly shows that there are questions of corruption or corrupt payments in relation to Briargate, the home of Mr. Burke; in relation to the offshore accounts that he had in Jersey and the Isle of Man; and in relation to Century Radio, whose promoters made him a corrupt payment as described by Mr. Justice Flood. I remember in the Seanad in 1990 when Ray Burke, the then Minister for Communications, came to the House and we criticised and castigated him for what we saw as a deliberate attempt to undermine RTE. On 12 July 1990 I said, in relation to Mr. Burke: "the same Minister should not be responsible for the Department of Justice and the Department of Communications". He had been promoted to the Department of Communications and held the portfolio for a brief time. There was always a suspicion as to why he got a second Department. My contribution to the Broadcasting Bill continued as follows:

This is a dastardly Bill. It is not so much a Broadcasting Bill as it is an act of vandalism against RTE. It is a major attack on free, independent broadcasting under a different guise. It undermines the role that has been pursued by RTE in their public broadcasting function. It is, for the first time, placing a major question mark over RTE's viability, as a public broadcasting service. I regard it as nothing less than scandalous that RTE should be treated in this fashion.

That was in 1990 when Ray Burke was deliberately nobbling RTE, as we now see and as we pretty much knew at the time. He was ensuring deliberately by way of legislation that RTE's facilities would be made available to Century Radio. He was capping 2FM and diverting the advertising funding from that to Century Radio. It was undoubtedly a dastardly action.

The Taoiseach and Tánaiste have a lot to answer in this regard. If Albert Reynolds had received so much information from Tom Savage and other sources, and if he communicated that to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, and the file was given to the current Taoiseach, why did the Taoiseach not act on it if the previous Taoiseach had deliberately left Mr. Burke out of his Cabinet? This and other serious questions need to be answered, therefore we need a question and answer session with the Taoiseach.

I said in the Seanad a number of years ago in regard to the former Taoiseach, Mr. Haughey, that we should amend the Criminal Assets Bureau Act so that we could deal with other people in the community other than suspected drug dealers and criminals who had assets and property of such a substantial nature that there was no visible means by which it was acquired. There is a large mansion in Kinsealy, the island of Inishvickillane, a luxury yacht, thoroughbred horses and a lifestyle on which huge sums of money were spent. If that happened in the area of drug dealing the Criminal Assets Bureau would have been in operation long ago. I do not see a reason to set up a corruption assets bureau at this time. Let us simply table a small amendment to the Criminal Assets Bureau Act and get on with the job.

I wish to share time with Deputy Glennon.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to address myself to this important motion. Before dealing specifically with the issue I want to answer an accusation which was levelled against me by Deputy Naughten at the end of his contribution. I am always amazed at the ability of Deputies in this House to besmirch and smear their colleagues without a shred of evidence to back it up. I want to reject out of hand the allegation made by Deputy Naughten and state very clearly the circumstances surrounding the designation of the Golden Island site in Athlone.

As Members know, I was Minister for the Environment between 1992 and 1994. In July 1994 I announced the designated areas for tax incentives for development in Dublin Castle. During the course of that day, I publicly stated that I needed more time to examine the Golden Island site and that I would make a decision before the end of the year. Members will also be aware that the special group established in my Department – people of the highest integrity – were checking out all the sites for designation, including Golden Island. That group, who were people of the highest integrity, recommended it for designation. The Minister of State at the time, Deputy Stagg, visited Athlone where he met representatives, visited the site and recommended that it should be designated. I still was not satisfied to make a final decision and I asked that Athlone Urban Council should meet. The urban council met and by the casting vote of the chairman the local representatives voted for the designation of the site. Therefore, there was a triple support mechanism. First, the group designated to recommend designation were positive. The Minister of State, Deputy Stagg, who worked tremendously hard in that Department, was also very satisfied with the designation. Athlone Urban Council voted for the designation and it was only then I took the final decision.

It is interesting to note that when the rainbow Government came into office almost immediately after my decision it, too, carried out an investigation and came back with a solid recommendation upholding the decision which had been taken. I would like, therefore, to put to rest for all time any smear or besmirching of my name in regard to that aspect of my work. I have never accepted a bribe. I have never made a designation only on the basis of the strongest recommendation by everyone involved. I stand over every decision I have taken.

The Flood tribunal is a sign of a healthy democracy in operation. Having been established on the recommendation of the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, in 1997 and subsequently extended in its terms of reference to encompass an inquiry into the acts of Mr. Ray Burke, the Oireachtas by its establishment clearly signalled its intent to face head on any revelations about wrongdoing in public life.

Public life and public office is about public service. This relates to all who hold it from local representatives to Cabinet Ministers. Quite simply, elected office is the highest honour any citizen can achieve, but with it comes many responsibilities. The party to which I belong, Fianna Fáil, has long held this as a core value to which the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, is deeply attached.

An important test of the true democratic nature of any society is the effectiveness of its response to the exposure of wrongdoing by those in public life. In recent times there has been undoubtedly an erosion of confidence in public life and, deeply conscious of this, the Government has moved to address it. As well as establishing the Flood and Moriarty tribunals, an aggressive and comprehensive legislative response has been initiated. Among the most significant laws now on the Statute Book are the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2001, the Standards in Public Office Act, 2001 and the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) Act, 2001. Ireland now has among the strongest regulatory framework governing ethics in public life of any country. We are determined to enforce and build on it as the citizens deserve no less.

The publication of the interim report of Mr. Justice Flood should be viewed in the context of this new framework and sends out a clear signal to those who would besmirch the trust placed in them. The report is a clear indication that the State will expose wrongdoing in public life and is a grim awakening for those who engage in corrupt and dishonest behaviour.

I was appointed to Cabinet in October 1997 as Minister for Defence in a reshuffle necessitated by the resignation of Ray Burke. None of us knew then what we know now about Mr. Burke. It is true that there had been allegations surrounding the former Deputy for some time. Unfortunately allegations – often unfounded – are an everyday sad part of political life. In recent times we have seen both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste vindicate their names in court after unfounded allegations besmirching their respective names appeared in the print media.

In regard to Ray Burke, the Taoiseach made a strong effort to establish the facts surrounding these allegations prior to his appointment to Cabinet. On four occasions, as set out on public record, the Taoiseach went to Mr. Burke about these allegations. No evidence could be established at that time that there was any wrongdoing. It should also be noted that the allegations had been made over a period of time, but when the Taoiseach was forming his Cabinet, the individual making the accusations was refusing to sign a statement. It is undoubtedly true that Ray Burke would not have become a Minister in 1997 if the Taoiseach knew what he knows now. He made an honest attempt to establish the facts as they were known then. He did not have at his disposal the resources and wide-ranging powers of the tribunal which took five years to uncover the unpleasant truth.

It must also be said that, despite the shrill trumpets of indignation from the Opposition benches, nobody objected to Ray Burke's appointment to Cabinet in 1997. The Opposition cannot have it both ways and say that, with the benefit of hindsight, it would have opposed Mr. Burke's appointment while castigating the Taoiseach for doing so. The public record will show that the new foreign affairs portfolio was actually well received in some quarters of the Opposition and that some elements of the media, so vociferous in the fall-out over the Flood interim report, actually welcomed it.

There has been a great deal of criticism of the Taoiseach concerning his reaction to the publishing of the report, particularly in respect of the position of Mr. Burke. The facts tell a different story. He demonstrated his deep dissatisfaction on RTE the day the report was published, while on the following Sunday at the launch of the Fianna Fáil Nice campaign in the Burlington Hotel, he said on at least three occasions that he felt betrayed and disgusted by Mr. Burke's behaviour. He also repeated similar comments to RTE correspondent Jim Fahy the following day. In a statement issued to "Prime Time" he expressed his disgust at Mr. Burke's betrayal of the public trust and reiterated his condemnations of Mr. Burke's conduct. To say that the Taoiseach has been lukewarm in his criticism of Mr. Burke in the wake of the report's publication is a gross distortion.

The Taoiseach is on record as saying at the time of Mr. Burke's resignation that he was hounded out of politics. Predictably, much has been made of this. However, this brings us back to the issue of hindsight. There is no doubt that the Taoiseach would not have made these comments if he had had the benefit of Mr. Justice Flood's report which arose from five years of thorough investigation. It is all very well for the Opposition to jump up and down, but I ask people in this House to be consistent. In particular, I refer those Deputies who are now damning the Taoiseach to the comments made by Deputy Kenny, who defended Michael Lowry in this House following his resignation and described him as a man of the highest integrity and honour. Hindsight is not always foresight.

The publication of the interim report of the Flood tribunal is a significant day for democracy in this country. It has laid bare the cold facts of standards of behaviour which let down all of us in public life. The report has already been sent by the tribunal to the DPP, while the Taoiseach has directed that it is to be appraised by the Garda Commissioner, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Revenue Commissioners and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

With the publication of this interim report from the Flood tribunal of inquiry, a clear and unequivocal message has been relayed to all in public life. I commend this motion to the House and give way to Deputy Glennon.

Deputy Glennon has ten minutes.

I thank the Minister, Deputy Smith, for sharing his time. I am thankful and proud of my being in a position to make this contribution, my maiden contribution in this House. I thank my family, friends and supporters and, most of all, the people of north County Dublin who have elected me to this position.

I am very conscious of the obligations, duties and responsibilities imposed on me and that I am here in this House as a representative of the people, and not, as sometimes may seem to be the case, a representative of public bodies going back to the constituency. I am here to represent the people of north County Dublin. They have placed their trust in me, of which I am deeply conscious, and I pledge myself to uphold that trust in any way I can and always with honesty and integrity.

I believe deeply in parliamentary democracy. It is something which is under considerable threat at the moment from different areas. There is a tradition in my family of public service. My father and his father were both county councillors and a maternal uncle sat on the Labour benches in this House some considerable time ago. I have often tried to picture what their thoughts might be, not only in recent weeks, but in recent years were they to see the goings on that have brought us here today. Their thoughts and attitudes shaped me, and every Member of this House is handed down high standards from his or her preceding generations. Similarly, our thoughts and actions as Members of this House shape society in general, particularly the future lives of our children.

We are dealing with a particularly thorny issue at the moment and how we as parliamentarians and as a nation deal with it is the acid test of our democracy. There is no room for equivocation. I am disgusted at the betrayal of public trust involved in the events leading to the setting up of this tribunal.

I also wish to join with the other speakers and the vast majority of the Irish people who have expressed their respect and admiration for Mr. Justice Flood and his team in the compilation of such a magnificent report. The report is already a best-seller, but its publication will certainly be seen as one of the seminal events in Irish politics and the history of this House.

I was told this morning that over 100,000 copies of this report have been disseminated to the public. An interesting aside to that is that the recently published Lindsay report on the issue of haemophilia had a demand for only 170 copies. That says a lot about our society. Over 70 people died in the time leading up to the creation and the institution of the Lindsay tribunal. One hundred and seventy copies of that report were required by the public. At the moment, the figure for the Flood interim report is 100,000.

It is fair to say that there was huge public disquiet at the contents of the Flood report. Nowhere is this public disquiet more pronounced than in north County Dublin, my constituency. It is the area which was central to the bulk of the activities which gave rise to the report, and I am very conscious of comments I may make because the tribunal is ongoing. However, the people of north County Dublin have absolutely no doubt that whatever may have been the cause of their present difficulties, the area in which they live, which has been, and still is, the most rapidly expanding local authority area in the country in terms of population, has been developing for some years on the basis of what was originally a flawed planning process. These people are now paying the price and reaping the whirlwind. Everybody in north County Dublin is aware of the explosion in population of the town of Swords, with a consequent, significant infrastructural deficit. The area of north Fingal has no bus service. There are buses all right, but there is absolutely no service.

There is a train service that owes more to the standards of Bangalore than it does to the requirements of Balbriggan. There is not a school in Swords that is not bursting at the seams. All these infrastructural difficulties have arisen because of the flawed planning process we have had to endure for probably 20 years. Not only has the area to which I have referred seen the most rapid expansion in population in the country, it is also continuing to expand at the same rate. Over the next seven years the town of Balbriggan is set to treble in population, from a current level of 11,000 to 30,000. This is an opportunity to learn something from the errors of the past. Lessons should also be learned from the infrastructural difficulties being experienced by the town of Swords. It should mean that Balbriggan does not have to suffer the same difficulties in the coming years.

It is no wonder that respect for the political system is at such a low ebb. With hindsight we can all throw blame wherever we may, but the reality is that we, in this House, act as politicians and parliamentarians and must deal with it. Remedial steps must be taken. It behoves each Member of the House to examine his or her own place in the system. It is a parliamentary democracy. Historically, such a system was debate driven. Unfortunately, nowadays it is largely image driven, with which we must live. We all came here with our eyes open.

Our image must be that of a role model. Many of us may not like this, but none of us should abdicate our responsibilities in terms of our leadership role in society. Pop stars or sports stars appear to hog the headlines most of the time. Any time a politician manages to get on the front page of a newspaper or the lead on radio or television news it appears in a negative light. We, in this House, have that state of affairs in our own control. Not only must we be clean, we must also be seen to be cleaner than clean because we set the standards for society. We must be prepared to say, "No," take the unpopular decision and the short-term pain for the long-term gain. We must also show the people that the culture that gave rise to this report is no more.

I take no pleasure in this my maiden speech to the House. However, I take great pride in being in a position to make it. I take great personal pride in myself, my family, friends and locality, in those who supported and elected me and, especially, the Fianna Fáil Party. This is not one of the most glorious chapters in our history, but I have no doubt that, in time, history will look favourably on this period. It will be seen as the one in which, once again, Fianna Fáil turned adversity into advantage and emerged from the process a much stronger and more vibrant party.

We have heard the statistics outlined in the interim report and the cost to date of the tribunal, €22 million. We have also heard that as a result of further investigations consequent upon the activities of the tribunal, in excess of €30 million has been collected by the Exchequer. I suggest to the House that any additional funds that may be generated through the efforts of the tribunal and subsequent efforts by any agency are channelled into the infrastructural deficit to which I referred in north County Dublin. The families who bought the houses, the results of these planning applications, have children in the local schools, which are significantly under-equipped and overcrowded. It is only appropriate that such funds be channelled in that direction.

I thank the Minister for sharing his time with me. I reiterate my comments about my disgust at the betrayal of public trust in the events giving rise to this tribunal. I again commend Mr. Justice Flood and his team for their tremendous service to Ireland and political life here, both now and in the future.

I congratulate Deputy Glennon on his maiden speech to the House. The country is depending on new people in Fianna Fáil like the Deputy to clean out the rot that was in evidence in the party for a long time. They have a heavy responsibility, but I have no doubt that he and the other new Fianna Fáil Members in the House will succeed.

I support Deputy Costello's comments on Mr. James Gogarty. I compliment Mr. Gogarty on the job he did for this country. He was a man of great courage and self-belief. The people of the country owe him much and I hope he will be made a freeman of either Dublin or Ireland because he has done the country a service above and beyond the call of duty.

I congratulate Mr. Justice Flood on his excellent interim report. The people expected it would be like all reports in providing a whitewash and that nobody would be named or blamed. They are delighted with it. To borrow the Fianna Fáil Party slogan used during the general election campaign, there is a lot done, but there is more to do.

The Taoiseach was not prepared to answer questions from the Opposition. We will have to depend on Mr. Justice Flood because it is clear the House no longer means anything. At a time when everybody, on programmes on RTE and local radio, in every pub and on every platform, can talk about the report, the Houses of Parliament that established it cannot do so. The Taoiseach will not answer questions – he will only read out something scripted by his officials – because he is afraid he might trip himself up. Please God, Mr. Justice Flood will get to the bottom of what happened once and for all and that he will clean up Irish politics.

As a new Member of the House, I have listened to people tell me that we politicians are all the same. We are not. I am not the same as Ray Burke, nor do I wish to be. Some 99.9% of the Members of this House are here because they wish to serve those who elected them. They do not do it for themselves, their families, but for their county and country. They should stand up and be counted, especially in Fianna Fáil. If they know of wrongdoing in the past, now is the time to appear before the Flood tribunal.

Mr. Justice Flood and this report have sent out a very strong signal. No more lies or time wasting at the tribunal will be accepted. I, therefore, warn all those who appear before it to tell the truth about what they know in order that this mess can be cleaned up once and for all. This will mean that we, in this House, will no longer have to castigate one another about money taken 20 or 25 years ago, thus enabling us to discuss problems around the country.

I come from a family of 13 and never saw £30,000 in my life. Ray Burke is reported to have taken some £250,000. For those who have not read the report there are really only two pages to read, pages 138 and 139 of chapter 16. The list of donations to the then Minister, Ray Burke, almost adds up to £250,000. The times were bad and there was great unemployment in the country. People on social welfare lived on less than £70 per week. People could hardly feed their families and the Government of the day could not get enough money in taxes to keep the budget on target, yet we had builders and others who were able to hand over £30,000 to politicians.

I am not stupid and if one sells a £70 ticket for Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil to somebody, he or she expects something for it. What happens if one gets £30,000 or a free house? How much is expected for that? I hope Mr. Justice Flood deals with these people. I hope the DPP also deals with them and that the next phase of the tribunal's investigations will lead to the courts so that those who gave money and those that accepted it will end up behind bars. That is what people want to see happen because anyone who takes that kind of money or a house, as the tribunal has said, is corrupt. They have not done this House, country, themselves or their families a service. Politics has to be cleaned up once and for all.

It is evident that there were problems in every ministry in which Ray Burke served. Let us take the example of RTE. I have always been a supporter of RTE on the basis that it is the national broadcaster. It does not do a bad job although we are often critical of it – it is like the politicians, people are critical no matter what we do. However, one should look at what happens when funding is taken away from it – it can no longer compete with Sky for football coverage. When Ray Burke was Minister he looked after his friends, capped RTE's income and nearly put it out of business. Last weekend RTE showed coverage of football, hurling and ladies football.

I came into this House in June 1994 and can recall three things about the then Minister, Ray Burke. The big issue for the people of Mayo during the 1997 general election was MMDS, multi-channel television. Mr. Burke had given out licences for it. I was on local radio and made a few allegations. Going up the steps of this Chamber I was pulled over by Mr. Burke who said that I went above and beyond the call of duty that day. He said he would be getting a tape and would deal with me in another quarter. I clearly remember what he said but he did not deal with me in the other quarter. Everything he touched from MMDS to RTE to Corrib Gas is now tainted with controversy. I propose in this House today that Department officials investigate every single decision he took to see who benefited from them.

The Government is currently being taken to task by Europe in regard to Corrib Gas. Questions are being asked about the planning process and why the project was established in such a way. A period of two months has been given in order to prepare a response. At least the people in Mayo who were complaining will be proven right. Everything this man touched seemed to cause trouble. I do not like making allegations against politicians and I will not make one today but I say to Fianna Fáil that it all started with a famous man who even had a song written about him, Charles J. Haughey. We know what happened to him. We now see from the Moriarty tribunal the lifestyle he had. He had various people around him, big tall men and small men and people that saw what was going on. Then they got a piece of the action. That is where it all started but now it must all be stopped. We must bring back politics to the people rather than to big business. I have never been a supporter of big businesses. They should stay out of the political institutions of this country. They should vote like everyone else but they should not get favours from political parties or individual politicians. This has to stop. The public is disillusioned and why would it not be when it knows somebody got £250,000 in bad times?

I listened to the Taoiseach yesterday and today and I watched the Fianna Fáil Members applauding him earlier. I am not in this House very long but I remember them clapping him in 1997 when Ray Burke was on the Front Bench. I saw the Minister of State, Deputy O'Dea, in the House a minute ago. Why did the Taoiseach have to pick Ray Burke when there was talk all over the country and within Fianna Fáil itself? Why did he leave out a man like the Minister of State, Deputy O'Dea, who would love to be a senior Minister and feels he should be one? He will probably castigate us all because he is the boot boy for Fianna Fáil and that is part of the job he will do today. Why did the Taoiseach appoint a man about whom so many people had doubts? It now appears that they were justified in having such doubts.

I came here on a deputation from the UDC in Westport prior to my election to the House. Ray Burke was the then Minister for the Environment. He thought I was a Fianna Fáil member. I could see the Fianna Fáil fellas kicking him to stop. He did not present himself as a very good Minister. He was planning to come down to Mayo by helicopter. I will not tell the full story; I will only tell half of it because I do not want to end up in a tribunal.

If Deputy Ring has information, he should make it known.

I remember there was no money in the kitty – the Department is no different now. He said "Lads, you are up for the day, let us go up to the bar. I will be down next week to open the water scheme in Castlebar". He said to the late county manager Michael O'Malley that they would drink a bottle of brandy between them. I could see the Fianna Fáil fellas kicking him because he thought all those on the deputation were members of Fianna Fáil. We were looking for money for the Westport sewerage scheme but there was no money and it is only being done now. He was throwing out the information that there was no money available, but he would still see us in the bar. That is the kind of a Minister he was.

There are only eight minutes remaining now for the Deputy's colleague.

I am sorry, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I told you I would be only ten minutes. I will finish now. I am depending on the new faces of Fianna Fáil like Deputy Andrews to clean up the mess that was created by his predecessors.

The ebullient Deputy Ring usually goes over time and I accept his apologies for that. I congratulate Deputy Glennon on his maiden speech and wish him well. Coincidentally, I made my own maiden speech on the terms of reference for the Flood tribunal. It is interesting to go back and read those speeches that are available in the back of the book.

The purpose of today's debate is to speak about the Flood tribunal, but more so about the political fallout from its second interim report. As a document it speaks for itself. We would never be able to dissect the information and analyse it like Mr. Justice Flood and in the period in which he has done so. I am very conscious of the spate of rumours in the past few years about people from urban councillors to the Taoiseach and everyone in between. People seem to be glad to hear any rumour. Anyone who has information should go to the tribunal and stop dragging people's characters into question. I am critical of the newspapers in this regard, notwithstanding the fact that they unearthed the information that led to the setting up of the tribunal. In the interim they have often been irresponsible with the headings of certain articles.

The Taoiseach appears to have missed the purpose of this two day debate. When he deviated from his script, the Taoiseach made a comment about "the old Fine Gael tradition of digging up the dirt". Had we in Fine Gael one iota of the ability of Mr. Justice Flood for digging up the dirt, the Taoiseach would not have been able to form a Government in 1997. The Flood report is not about Fine Gael nor is it one our party prepared. It is a report compiled by Mr. Justice Flood whose tribunal was established by the House, not by the Taoiseach, who tried to create the impression when the report was published that he had established the tribunal.

The Taoiseach has been on the receiving end of a great deal of flak on this issue because, while he is by nature cautious, this caution deserted him when he appointed Ray Burke. The Taoiseach and the Minister, Deputy Michael Smith, have used the defence that Ray Burke was not con demned by other sides of the House when he was appointed. They did not have access to the type of information which was clearly in the possession of some members of the Government at the time. One would not give a person a job in a corner sweet shop if such innuendo existed about him or her. The Taoiseach, even though he is normally cautious, appointed Ray Burke.

I have some sympathy for the Taoiseach in that he has continually stated over recent years that he has answered these questions and that we should not return to them and continually emphasise them. He had an opportunity today to answer the questions. He is selective. Yesterday on the Order of Business I made a comment that the time was not that important, but I also said that what was important were the answers. The Taoiseach selectively concentrated on the first half of the comment but not on the second. The least he could have done was to have made his contribution at the end of the debate today and not earlier on. He has not done himself any favours because there are questions which have remained unanswered. He may be capable of answering them but he has ignored them or chosen not to answer them for whatever reason.

He answered several questions but there are others he did not address. One question is what information he had before he appointed Ray Burke. He outlined some of it, but the former Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, gave the distinct impression that, as he left office, he gave information to the Taoiseach about the former Minister, Ray Burke, that would indicate, based on an interview with Mr. Tom Savage on the national airwaves, that Ray Burke was not fit to be considered for appointment, yet the Taoiseach appointed him. I regret he is not present to answer that. What information did the Minister, Deputy Michael Smith, give him, if any? A quick glance at the Minister's script suggests that is not answered. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment told us she was told beforehand that Ray Burke had received a donation of £30,000, which is fair enough.

It is important to remember that the tribunal was not established quickly. I remember a great deal of confusion and resistance in certain quarters to the tribunal being established. Investigation of the £30,000 donation which was at the kernel of the Flood tribunal was tabled as an amendment to the terms of reference of the Moriarty tribunal but was not accepted by the Government at the time. Did the former Minister, Ray Burke, make any representations to the Taoiseach when the tribunal was being established? Did he threaten to resign from the Dáil if it was established? Did he have any discussions with the Taoiseach in respect of the establishment of the Flood tribunal? Between the appointment of Ray Burke as a Minister and the day he resigned, did the former Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, the Minister, Deputy Michael Smith, any Cabinet member or member of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party come forward to the Taoiseach with information they thought might be relevant to the contribution made by Ray Burke?

On the point that we did not condemn him on his appointment as Minister, anyone in the Chamber who was not familiar with the rumours believed him. One had to take the man at his word. He proved to be untruthful, however. Some members of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party had access to information which would have been in conflict with the statement made by Ray Burke. Did they go to the Taoiseach or did he go to them for their information?

One of the mysteries to me is that the Taoiseach sent the Minster, Deputy Dermot Ahern, to determine if a donation had been given to Ray Burke knowing well it had been because Mr. Burke told him so. Did the Minister ever ask the Taoiseach why he sent him on such a fool's errand?

There is public outrage at the findings of the tribunal and the people want to see justice done. Perhaps in the legislation to establish the corruption assets bureau the removal of State pensions from an individual found to be corrupt could be examined. That should be considered.

The Minister, Deputy Cullen, spoke about planning in detail and mentioned that, in the past three years, the authorities in the greater Dublin area have had access to the strategic planning guidelines. Perhaps he should re-examine those. A recent judgment was given in a judicial review sought on the implementation of the guidelines by Meath County Council. Mr. Justice Quirke in his decision stated that the strategic planning guidelines were flawed in that they gave no definition of local growth, an important aspect of the guidelines and one which has been misinterpreted by some local authorities.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment referred to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. The publication of the interim report of the Flood tribunal means the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General went largely unnoticed. It had some issues of concern relating to people not paying their taxes. One man had transactions to the value of €4 million and did not pay a penny in tax. These are issues which need to be addressed.

It is important for people with information to send it to the Flood tribunal and for it to be in writing and signed. I do not like people having a slur cast on their reputation by maliciously placed rumours.

I wish to share time with Deputy Andrews.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

The debate so far has concentrated to an extraordinary extent on the appointment of Ray Burke in 1997, despite the fact there is only the most tenuous of connections between it and Mr. Justice Flood's report, if any. The Taoi seach's response has dealt more than adequately with the innuendo and false allegations in this regard. He has also made clear his and Fianna Fáil's revulsion at Mr. Burke's actions.

Mr. Justice Flood's report is being considered by or has been sent to various bodies, including the Garda Commissioner, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Revenue Commissioners, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Director of Public Prosecutions. There are, however, no recommendations for amendments to legislation.

I welcome the indication by the Minister, Deputy Cullen, that some improvements to planning laws can be and are to be advanced by the Government. He indicated in his speech yesterday that the Government has plans for improvements to planning laws and that there are other areas for which it was in the process of bringing forward legislative initiatives.

The Dáil and Parliament could have a useful role in considering the implications of Mr. Justice Flood's report. The debate so far does not indicate that many people are of the same view. A great deal of what one has heard indicates that the only interest many people have in the report is in so far as it can be made useful for throwing mud at the Taoiseach or others. The House, having established the tribunal, has a central role in considering the implications of the interim report which does not have specific recommendations at this stage but clearly, on foot of what is set out as the factual position, has matters which need and should be considered by the House, either in the Chamber or in committee. Many issues dealt with by Mr. Justice Flood should be teased out. Parliament should indicate that it does not always wait for Government to come forward with legislative initiatives or the creation of new bodies, where necessary, or giving additional powers to existing ones. At least some of the initiative should come from this House.

Among the points made by the Minister was that the Department of the Environment and Local Government had been very proactive in introducing legislation in 2000 and 2001 that was addressed in detail on Committee Stage. It has also introduced guidelines for local authorities in relation to residential densities, wind farms, mobile phone masts, child care, landscape protection, etc.

The issue of zoning has been difficult and fraught in the Dublin area, but for many local authorities it is a new area. Many local authorities are now considering zoning for the first time for various towns. Generally, consultants seem to be employed to make recommendations in relation to a particular area or part of a county. We generally assume they have no contact with anybody who has any beneficial interest in the lands involved. I am not certain they are required to make declarations in that regard, but I understand on occasion they have done so. If there is a grey area, it should be addressed.

The next step in the process is for the planning staff of the local authority to make their recommendations, which are generally pretty close to those of the consultants. At the final phase the role of the local authority members is to make the decision and consult with communities. The one quality local councillors have that neither the consultants nor the council staff generally have is that of local knowledge.

One of the difficulties I envisage is that local councillors will see very clearly that the recommendations of the consultants and the planning staff will not lead to lands being available for housing or development, usually because the owners of the designated land are simply not interested in selling it. Sometimes there are very good or sentimental reasons for this, but they are very definite reasons in the minds of the people who own the property.

Frequently local councillors know quite well that almost all the area being zoned will not be available for housing, but the difficulty for them is that if they are seen to widen the parameters of the zoning by bringing in other areas, they immediately come under the cosh because the point made by Deputy Timmins comes into play and they are open to allegations being made against them because they did not agree with the professional advice of the consultants and planners. It would be a retrograde step to remove the role of local councillors in zoning decisions. In addition to local knowledge they also bring a scarce enough commodity – that of common sense – to the debate. By and large, I have found local authority members and Members of the Houses to be intent on delivering to the benefit of the people of their areas.

One of the really sad results of this report and the activity which begat it is that it throws a cloud over all of us who are involved in politics. It is not a cloud we should use as an excuse for not doing what we believe is right. The upshot of what is happening in rural Ireland is that quite frequently land zoned around towns and villages is not available and somebody who wants to live in a particular locality cannot get a site in or around the town and naturally will not be allowed to build in the rural area because of planning policy.

The Minister has indicated there are many other bodies involved such as Comhar, which has a role in relation to sustainable development. Council SPCs have certainly helped enormously in the area of thrashing out the detail. It is also fair to say that since all these activities took place much legislation has been introduced, particularly the Standards in Public Office Acts, 1995 and 2000. Setting up the Standards in Public Office Commission is a move in the right direction, but Mr. Justice Flood's findings deserve close scrutiny by Members of this House which I would prefer to see done at a committee. While no recommendations are made by Mr. Justice Flood, there are undoubtedly implications for legislation or the powers of various existing bodies and perhaps in some instances the need to set up new agencies.

The Minister referred to the proposed corruption assets bureau. Some of the powers proposed for this body are very wide ranging. They represent a major change in what has been in position up to now and a reasonable attempt to address the ongoing shortcomings in legislation and agencies to deal with practices of the nature uncovered by Mr. Justice Flood. We should be more proactive in providing such bodies with the power and funding to deal with whatever may be happening.

People generally say that while the activities inquired into in this report date back in some instances almost 30 years, there is a suspicion in the mind of the public that perhaps quite different activities are now going on. There is an onus on this Parliament to provide the agencies and legislation to ensure it is not left to the people in the next generation to find out what happened, if anything, and that adequate policing and remedies are in place.

Some of the findings of Mr. Justice Flood deserve to be considered in very great detail, in particular his finding at section 16-04, which states the tribunal has been unable to discover what actions Mr. Burke took. It also states:

It is the opinion of the Tribunal and the Tribunal concludes that the benefit which was conferred upon Mr. Burke was conferred in circumstances which gave rise to a reasonable inference that the motives for making and receiving this benefit were connected with the public office held by Mr. Burke.

This finding in its starkness and simplicity has implications for everybody involved in public life and is the kind of finding that deserves to be teased out, not so much in the context of the 1970s, 1980s or 1990s, but 2002.

Sections 19-06, 19-07, 19-11 and 19-14 of the report should be examined in considerable detail. They deal with the 184 responses to advertisements placed by the tribunal seeking information. These are divided into various subgroups, some of which the tribunal was able to address. However, there is an inference that some of them that could not be dealt with by the tribunal also deal with important matters, which ought to be referred elsewhere for careful consideration. I conclude with the hope those outstanding matters will be debated and considered in detail.

I thank Deputy Killeen for sharing his time. Young people in Fianna Fáil could wash their hands of this business and say that 1997 has nothing to do with them as they were not elected then. I made my maiden speech on the Nice treaty which deals with a future of which I would like to be a part and of which Ireland should be a part. This matter relates to the murky past and decisions made in the corridors of Dublin County Council and elsewhere. However, newer Fianna Fáil Members must tackle this, as many young people who are not Members would like to have a say on the issue. I hope to speak on their behalf.

Fianna Fáil is now 76 years old and for a long time it was respected, even by people who were non-political. I have heard stories of Seán Lemass refusing to allow his wife to use the State car as that could be seen as an abuse of taxpayers' money. That is the kind of fundamental selflessness that was the hallmark of one of the greatest Fianna Fáil politicians. Somehow that ethic was missing in some cases and unfortunately we, the younger members of the party, are now dealing with the aftermath, which is very difficult. I speak on behalf of the ordinary members of Fianna Fáil who have been canvassing, contributing to local debates and getting involved themselves in local communities: they have contributed to their country and civic responsibility. I speak on their behalf because they are resentful of what emerged in the Flood tribunal. They are disappointed by what was found and ultimately they are the ones who have suffered. The legacy of the Flood tribunal is being felt by them. They have not abused or taken advantage of their positions in Fianna Fáil, yet they are being tarred with the same brush.

I am sorry Deputy Ring is not here. He told Deputy Glennon and me that we had a responsibility as new Members to clean up Fianna Fáil and to restore it to the state I have just described. Deputy Ring should know it is not just Fianna Fáil councillors who were involved in certain planning matters investigated by the Flood tribunal. An interim finding has been made and further findings will be made. When those are made public Deputy Ring will have to put the spotlight on his party – not personally, I stress. The Opposition should not lecture us on those issues.

The Opposition tactic has a fairly narrow political goal, as Deputy Glennon said. They are trying to score points against the Taoiseach and to tarnish his reputation. There has not been much from the Opposition about the legacy for those who live in the areas affected by these matters; it is all a matter of the questions that have to be answered. Any person with common sense can see that the Opposition has certain answers which it expects and thinks are true. It feels that until the Taoiseach gives those answers the questions have not been answered. The reality is that the Taoiseach has answered the questions but the answers are not those the Opposition wants. Those answers are the truth and the Taoiseach has made that very clear. He has spoken at length on those issues on a number of occasions. If the Opposition is really concerned about the issues raised by the Flood report it would look into the legacy left to those who live in the affected areas.

The report of the Lindsay tribunal, regarding the contamination of blood products, was published during the summer. There was no hue and cry for a two-day debate or a question and answer session about that which involved life and death issues rather than corruption and payments of money. The reason was because it did not involve the narrow political goal of tarnishing the reputation of the Taoiseach. That is not to diminish the losses of those who suffered as a result of the corruption in planning matters. It is not to say that the expenditure of €22 million over five years was not worthy. Mr. Justice Flood's report is one of the healthiest events ever in this State and I hope he continues his work.

In my three years on the council in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown I have found the planning process fairly healthy and transparent. I have never experienced any corruption with which I could go to the tribunal. There have been minimal rezonings and most of those have been of social benefit, such as the building of a health centre on what had been an open space. The Government has committed itself to ensuring that planning and development is transparent with the passing of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, and the subsequent Local Government Act.

I am concerned by the Jackson Way matter, which should be tackled head on. There are suspicions about what happened there and arbitration is ongoing on the issue. If possible, the Flood tribunal should expedite its investigation of that matter because it is a matter of ongoing public concern. The Director of Corporate Enforcement has powers under the companies legislation to investigate ownership, such as powers of discovery of documents and those powers should be used as soon as possible in this matter. I wrote to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment about it a year ago, asking for it to be investigated in this fashion. Every step should be taken to investigate the Jackson Way matter and I encourage the tribunal to do so as a matter of urgency.

I propose to share my time with Deputies Crawford, Healy and Sargent.

The report of the Flood tribunal is one of the most damning indictments I have seen since entering politics. Historians will look back on this period and wonder how so much corruption took place, why it was allowed to occur, who knew about it and why it was not stopped. The report is damning and any reasonable person reading it would surely conclude, concerning Ray Burke's actions, that someone in the Cabinet, including the Taoiseach, knew what was going on. There had to be someone who knew. The Taoiseach avoided the central question when he said his bit and ran out of the Chamber. I would have expected him to stay until 3.30 p.m. and hear everything. That would only be reasonable and if he thought as highly of the Flood report as he seems to, he should be sitting here. There were no Progressive Democrats Members present during the Taoiseach's statement. They chose to run, which speaks volumes.

The central question is this: why did the Taoiseach appoint Ray Burke? We know about all the signals he received – I do not have the time to go through them all. However, after all the signals he received through the years that there was some sort of whiff from Mr. Burke, why did he send Deputy Dermot Ahern to the UK? To have a word with Mr. Joseph Murphy Jr.? Did he really think that when he met Mr. Murphy and asked him if he bribed the Minister for Foreign Affairs that Mr. Murphy was likely to say he did? There was another reason for the Taoiseach to send Deputy Ahern to London which I will come to in a minute.

The Taoiseach said today that before he appointed Mr. Burke in 1997 he asked the Garda Commissioner about him, and I am sure he did. As I understand it, there was a Garda investigation of Mr. Burke back in the late 1970s or 1980s but because of the laws on corruption, nothing could be done about it. Obviously the answer had to have been the same at that stage. Was it not spectacular that the Taoiseach did not send someone to Mr. James Gogarty, or was it because they thought he was a cranky old man with what they saw as a chip on his shoulder and he was not worth talking to? He was the obvious person to ask in order to find out the other side of the story.

It goes much deeper than that. I believe the Taoiseach got the answers he required and he showed the people of Ireland that he did his best to come to terms with what had happened. He knew well the answer he would get. Why was Mr. Burke given that prestigious job when so many very able people were left out of that Government? There were several people, including the Minister of State, Deputy Gallagher, who would have made an excellent Minister for Foreign Affairs.

He has sense as well.

Why was the Minister of State, Deputy Gallagher, not appointed? I regret that the Taoiseach is not present because I wanted to say this to his face – I think Mr. Burke had something on him. There must have been some connection that the Taoiseach was afraid that Mr. Burke would speak about if he was not given a Cabinet post. I cannot prove that but I wanted to put it directly to the Taoiseach. Many other people could have done the job equally well and the people want to know why Mr. Burke was appointed. The Taoiseach did not provide the answers to those questions this afternoon.

The Flood report has been sent to many different groups. It is important that thousands of ordinary people have bought copies of the report because its findings have disturbed so many. The Taoiseach appointed Ray Burke as Minister for Foreign Affairs. He also appointed Liam Lawlor to the Ethics committee, Deputy Ellis as chairman of the agriculture committee and Denis Foley to the DIRT committee. The common factor is that they were all appointed by the Taoiseach but they all had to go for different reasons.

I met former Deputy Burke the morning after former Deputy Ivan Yates agreed the deal with the Russians which saw my and the Ceann Comhairle's county left out. I had to defend that decision on local radio. I remember Ray Burke saying to me: "Seymour, why on earth did you take on your own obituary?" I asked him if it was wrong to tell the truth. I was re-elected immediately after that because I told the truth and I was re-elected this time also, whereas Ray Burke has been out of this House for some time.

Some of my colleagues asked me to resign for telling the truth about the Russian deal. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Deputy Walsh, recently announced that the excluded counties in the Russian deal would be re-opened. He told the Irish people that it would mean better prices and better trade. He has been re-appointed by the Taoiseach as Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development because of the involvement of big business. Deputy Walsh refused to intervene in the farmers' dispute with the meat processing industry. Is he more sympathetic to the meat industry than to farmers? I believe he should be a Minister for the whole industry and not just for a select few. There are questions to be asked about that appointment.

The Taoiseach should be in the House now and should be prepared to answer all these questions. The Taoiseach appointed Ray Burke in the full knowledge that Mr. Burke had been the recipient of a £30,000 donation. We know now that he was also given a house and other sums of money. Both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste knew about the £30,000. I clearly remember Ray Burke saying in this House that people were aware that he had been given £30,000 as if such a sum of money was the norm. It may have been the norm in Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats, but it certainly was not the norm on this side of the House. It frightens me that the Taoiseach knew before he appointed Ray Burke that the money had been paid by one individual. There is an old saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. I suggest that no £30,000 is given by any individual or business without baggage attached. For that reason I suggest the Taoiseach made a major blunder. Why did the Taoiseach not listen to Albert Reynolds, a former Taoiseach? He had very good reasons for not appointing Ray Burke. They may have been personal reasons, but he gave the Taoiseach the information and yet the Taoiseach went ahead.

The Flood tribunal has done a good job so far. It will help to cleanse this House and that is badly needed.

I wish to share my time with Deputy Sargent. In the short time available to me I wish to ask a few questions. The Taoiseach knew full well in June 1997 that Ray Burke was given the present day equivalent of €100,000 from the engineering firm, JMSE. Why did he still appoint Mr. Burke as Minister for Foreign Affairs? Has Mr. Burke some hold over the Taoiseach? Why did the Taoiseach think that there was nothing disturbing about such a large donation, especially when the Taoiseach was aware that the donor company was lying about the donation? How does the Taoiseach explain the claims made about the thoroughness of his investigation when he failed to check with Fianna Fáil head office the claim that Ray Burke had made a payment of £10,000 to Fianna Fáil? Why did he fail to tell the Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, what he knew about the JMSE payment? Why did he not take the advice of the former Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds?

I appreciate the time given to me by Deputy Healy and by Fine Gael. The Taoiseach is very fortunate that the terms of the tribunal did not include the degree to which he and the Tánaiste were aware of Ray Burke being in receipt of £30,000. It is important to remember that in 1989, £30,000 would have bought a luxurious house, with a luxurious car thrown in. The significance of the value of that sum of money must raise suspicion about a Taoiseach who would overlook such a matter. In any other country it would warrant at least an offer of resignation – that would be a minimum in most countries.

Those who became rich and powerful on the back of bad re-zoning decisions have forced people in north County Dublin to live miles from churches, schools, shops and public transport. This was mentioned by Deputy Jim Glennon, whom I welcome to the House, in the course of his maiden speech. It is too dangerous to cycle on the narrow roads on which their houses and housing estates have been built and footpaths are often non-existent. There are no recreational facilities for young people.

There is no doubt that the DPP has a job to do, but so has the Government. This Government has published a national development plan which does not include a spatial strategy, perpetrating bad planning decisions. This is evidence of bad judgment even if there is no corruption involved. There has been no investment in public transport and a windfall tax on the profits from re-zoned land has not been introduced. Not one square metre of badly zoned land has been de-zoned. North County Dublin and many rural areas around the country are prime examples and many people have become rich and powerful. It may be coincidence that they are also very good supporters of Fianna Fáil.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."

Ahern, Bertie.Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Noel.Andrews, Barry.Ardagh, Seán.Aylward, Liam.Blaney, Niall.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Seamus.Browne, John.Callanan, Joe.Carty, John.Cassidy, Donie.Collins, Michael.Coughlan, Mary.Cowen, Brian.Cregan, John.Cullen, Martin.Curran, John.Davern, Valera, Síle.Dempsey, Tony.Dennehy, John.Devins, Jimmy.Ellis, John.Fahey, Frank.Finneran, Michael.Fitzpatrick, Dermot.Fleming, Seán.Gallagher, Pat The Cope.Glennon, Jim.Hanafin, Mary.Harney, Mary.Haughey, Seán.Hoctor, Máire.Jacob, Joe.Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.Kelly, Peter.Killeen, Tony.

Kirk, Seamus.Kitt, Tom.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.McCreevy, Charlie.McDaid, James.McDowell, Michael.McEllistrim, Thomas.McGuinness, John.Martin, Micheál.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Mulcahy, Michael.Nolan, M. J.Ó Cuív, Éamon.Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.O'Connor, Charlie.O'Dea, Willie.O'Donnell, Liz.O'Donoghue, John.O'Flynn, Noel.O'Keeffe, Batt.O'Keeffe, Ned.O'Malley, Fiona.O'Malley, Tim.Parlon, Tom.Power, Peter.Power, Seán.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Sexton, Mae.Smith, Brendan.Smith, MichaelTreacy, Noel.Wallace, Dan.Walsh, Joe.Wilkinson, Ollie.Woods, Michael.Wright, G. V.


Allen, Bernard.Boyle, Dan.Breen, Pat.Broughan, Thomas P.Bruton, Richard.Burton, JoanConnaughton, Paul.Costello, Joe.Coveney, Simon.Cowley, Jerry.Crawford, Seymour.Crowe, Seán.Cuffe, Ciarán.Deasy, John.Deenihan, Jimmy.Durkan, Bernard J.English, Damien.Enright, Olwyn.Ferris, Martin.Gilmore, Eamon.Gogarty, Paul.Gormley, John.Gregory, Tony.Harkin, Marian.Hayes, Tom.Healy, Seamus.Higgins, Joe.Higgins, Michael D.Hogan, Phil.Howlin, Brendan.Kehoe, Paul.Kenny, Enda.

Lynch, Kathleen.McCormack, Padraic.McGrath, Finian.McHugh, Paddy.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Mitchell, Olivia.Morgan, Arthur.Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.Murphy, Gerard.Naughten, Denis.Neville, Dan.Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.Ó Snódaigh, Aengus.O'Dowd, Fergus.O'Shea, Brian.O'Sullivan, Jan.Pattison, Seamus.Penrose, Willie.Perry, John.Quinn, Ruairi.Rabbitte, Pat.Ring, Michael.Ryan, Eamon.Ryan, Seán.Sargent, Trevor.Shortall, Róisín.Stagg, Emmet.Stanton, David.Timmins, Billy.Upton, Mary.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Hanafin and S. Power; Nil, Deputies Durkan and Stagg.
Question declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 2:

To add the following to the motion:

"calls for the circumstances surrounding the changes made to oil and gas exploration licences by former Minister for Energy and Communications Ray Burke to be fully investigated by the Tribunal."

Amendment put:

Allen, Bernard.Boyle, Dan.Breen, Pat.Broughan, Thomas P.Bruton, Richard.Burton, JoanConnaughton, Paul.Connolly, Paudge.Costello, Joe.Coveney, Simon.Cowley, Jerry.Crawford, Seymour.Crowe, Seán.Cuffe, Ciarán.Deasy, John.Deenihan, Jimmy.Durkan, Bernard J.English, Damien.Enright, Olwyn.Ferris, Martin.Gilmore, Eamon.Gogarty, Paul.Gormley, John.Gregory, Tony.Harkin, Marian.Hayes, Tom.Healy, Seamus.Higgins, Joe.Higgins, Michael D.Hogan, Phil.Howlin, Brendan.Kehoe, Paul.

Kenny, Enda.Lynch, Kathleen.McCormack, Padraic.McGrath, Finian.McHugh, Paddy.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Mitchell, Olivia.Morgan, Arthur.Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.Murphy, Gerard.Naughten, Denis.Neville, Dan.Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.Ó Snódaigh, Aengus.O'Dowd, Fergus.O'Shea, Brian.O'Sullivan, Jan.Pattison, Seamus.Penrose, Willie.Perry, John.Quinn, Ruairi.Rabbitte, Pat.Ring, Michael.Ryan, Eamon.Ryan, Seán.Sargent, Trevor.Shortall, Róisín.Stagg, Emmet.Stanton, David.Timmins, Billy.Upton, Mary.


Ahern, BertieAhern, Dermot.Ahern, Noel.Andrews, Barry.Ardagh, Seán.Aylward, Liam.Blaney, Niall.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Seamus.Browne, John.Callanan, Joe.Callely, Ivor.Carty, John.Cassidy, Donie.Collins, Michael.Coughlan, Mary.Cowen, Brian.Cregan, John.Cullen, Martin.Curran, John.Davern, Valera, Síle.Dempsey, Tony.Dennehy, John.Devins, Jimmy.Ellis, John.Fahey, Frank.Finneran, Michael.Fitzpatrick, Dermot.

Fleming, Seán.Gallagher, Pat The Cope.Glennon, Jim.Hanafin, Mary.Harney, Mary.Haughey, Seán.Hoctor, Máire.Jacob, Joe.Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.Kelly, Peter.Killeen, Tony.Kirk, Seamus.Kitt, Tom.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.McCreevy, Charlie.McDaid, James.McDowell, Michael.McEllistrim, Thomas.McGuinness, John.Martin, Micheál.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Mulcahy, Michael.Nolan, M. J.Ó Cuív, Éamon.Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.O'Connor, Charlie.


O'Dea, Willie.O'Donnell, Liz.O'Donoghue, John.O'Flynn, Noel.O'Keeffe, Batt.O'Keeffe, Ned.O'Malley, Fiona.O'Malley, Tim.Parlon, Tom.Power, Peter.

Power, Seán.Ryan, Eoin.Sexton, Mae.Smith, Brendan.Smith, MichaelTreacy, Noel.Wallace, Dan.Walsh, Joe.Wilkinson, Ollie.Woods, Michael.Wright, G. V.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Gregory and Ó Snodaigh; Níl, Deputies Hanafin and Power.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendment No. 3 not moved.

I move amendment No. 4:

To add the following to the motion:

"and that Dáil Éireann now set up a New National Planning Body to ensure that all Development Plans are compatible with:

– The forthcoming National Spatial Strategy,

– Sustainable Development, a Strategy for Ireland,

– Strategic Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area and subsequent reviews,

– Relevant international thinking on sustainability; and

– that the Government investigate and review all significant decisions made by former Minister Ray Burke in his periods of office as Minister for the Environment; Energy; Communications; Industry and Commerce; Justice; and Foreign Affairs, and as Minister of State at the Department of Industry, Commerce and Energy, and as a County Councillor."

Amendment put.

Allen, Bernard.Boyle, Dan.Breen, Pat.Broughan, Thomas P.Bruton, Richard.Burton, Joan.Connaughton, Paul.Costello, Joe.Coveney, Simon.Crawford, Seymour.Crowe, SeánCuffe, CiaránDeasy, John.Deenihan, Jimmy.Durkan, Bernard J.English, Damien.Enright, Olwyn.Ferris, Martin.Gilmore, Eamon.Gogarty, Paul.Gormley, John.Gregory, Tony.Hayes, Tom.Healy, Seamus.Higgins, Joe.Higgins, Michael D.Hogan, Phil.Howlin, Brendan.Kehoe, Paul.Kenny, Enda.

Lynch, Kathleen.McCormack, Padraic.McGrath, Finian.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Mitchell, Olivia.Morgan, Arthur.Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.Murphy, Gerard.Naughten, Denis.Neville, Dan.Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.O'Dowd, Fergus.O'Shea, Brian.Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.O'Sullivan, Jan.Pattison, Seamus.Penrose, Willie.Perry, John.Quinn, Ruairi.Rabbitte, Pat.Ring, Michael.Ryan, Eamon.Ryan, Seán.Sargent, Trevor.Shortall, Róisín.Stagg, Emmet.Stanton, David.Timmins, Billy.Upton, Mary.


Ahern, Bertie.Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Noel.Andrews, BarryArdagh, Seán.

Aylward, Liam.Blaney, Niall.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin. Brennan, Seamus.


Browne, John.Callanan, Joe.Callely, Ivor.Carty, John.Cassidy, Donie.Collins, Michael.Coughlan, Mary.Cowen, Brian.Cregan, John.Cullen, Martin.Curran, John.Davern, Valera, Síle.Dempsey, Tony.Dennehy, John.Devins, Jimmy.Ellis, John.Fahey, Frank.Finneran, Michael.Fitzpatrick, Dermot.Fleming, Seán.Gallagher, Pat The Cope.Glennon, Jim.Hanafin, Mary.Harney, Mary.Haughey, Seán.Hoctor, Máire.Jacob, Joe.Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.Kelly, Peter.Killeen, TonyKirk, Seamus.Kitt, Tom.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.

McCreevy, Charlie.McDaid, Jim.McDowell, Michael.McEllistrim, Thomas.McGuinness, John.Martin, Micheál.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Mulcahy, Michael.Nolan, M. J.Ó Cuív, Éamon.Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.O'Connor, Charlie.O'Dea, Willie.O'Donnell, Liz.O'Donoghue, John.O'Flynn, Noel.O'Keeffe, Batt.O'Keeffe, Ned.O'Malley, Fiona.O'Malley, Tim.Parlon, Tom.Power, Peter.Power, Seán.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Sexton, Mae.Smith, Brendan.Smith, Michael.Treacy, Noel.Wallace, Dan.Walsh, Joe.Wilkinson, Ollie.Woods, Michael.Wright, G. V.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Boyle and Gregory; Níl, Deputies, Hanafin and S. Power.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 5:

To add the following to the motion:

"– condemns outright those who abused their public positions by accepting corrupt payments;

– notes that the speculation and profiteering in building land provides opportunities for corruption and are a factor in housing prices rising to levels which cause great hardship to first time buyers; and

– calls for the elimination of speculation in residential building land through the establishment of a public landbank authority which would take ownership of all designated building land at agricultural prices and allocate such land for building homes which would be sold for regulated prices."

Amendment put.

Boyle, Dan.Broughan, Thomas P.Burton, Joan.Costello, Joe.Cowley, Jerry.Crowe, Seán.Cuffe, Ciarán.Ferris, Martin.Gilmore, Eamon.Gogarty, Paul.Gormley, John.Gregory, Tony.Harkin, Marian.Healy, Seamus.Higgins, Joe.Higgins, Michael D.Howlin, Brendan.Lynch, Kathleen.

McGrath, Finian.McHugh, Paddy.McManus, Liz.Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.O'Shea, Brian.O'Sullivan, Jan.Pattison, Seamus.Penrose, Willie.Quinn, Ruairi.Rabbitte, Pat.Ryan, Eamon.Ryan, Seán.Sargent, Trevor.Shortall, Róisín.Stagg, Emmet.Upton, Mary.


Ahern Bertie,Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Noel.Andrews, BarryArdagh, Seán.Aylward, Liam.Blaney, Niall.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Seamus.Browne, John.Callanan, Joe.Callely, Ivor.Carty, John.Cassidy, Donie.Collins, Michael.Coughlan, Mary.Cowen, Brian.Cregan, John.Cullen, Martin.Curran, John.Davern, Valera, Síle.Dempsey, Tony.Dennehy, John.Devins, Jimmy.Ellis, John.Fahey, Frank.Finneran, Michael.Fitzpatrick, Dermot.Fleming, Seán.Gallagher, Pat The Cope.Glennon, Jim.Hanafin, Mary.Harney, MaryHaughey, Seán.Hoctor, Máire.Jacob, Joe.Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.Kelly, Peter.

Killeen, TonyKirk, Seamus.Kitt, Tom.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.McCreevy, Charlie.McDaid, James.McDowell, Michael.McEllistrim, Thomas.McGuinness, John.Martin, Micheál.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Mulcahy, Michael.Nolan, M. J.Ó Cuív, Éamon.Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.O'Connor, Charlie.O'Dea, Willie.O'Donnell, Liz.O'Donoghue, John.O'Flynn, Noel.O'Keeffe, Batt.O'Keeffe, Ned.O'Malley, Fiona.O'Malley, Tim.Parlon, Tom.Power, Peter.Power, Seán.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Sexton, Mae.Smith, Brendan.Smith, Michael.Treacy, Noel.Wallace, Dan.Walsh, Joe.Wilkinson, Ollie.Woods, Michael.Wright, G. V.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Gregory and J. Higgins; Nil, Deputies Hanafin and S. Power.
Amendment declared lost.
Question, "That the motion be agreed to", put and declared carried.