Cllr Ridge Must Resign over Mahon Tribunal Findings

Posted: March 29, 2012 in Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael

Speaking after the publication of the Mahon Tribunal Final Report Sinn Féin Dublin Mid-West representative Eoin Ó Broin has called on Fine Gael Clondalkin Cllr Terese Ridge to resign her Council seat. The call comes after the Tribunal concluded that, “payments to Cllr Ridge by Mr Dunlop directly (€1,000) and indirectly (by the discharge of costs associated with her election campaigns) made during the currency of the Quarryvale rezoning process compromised the requirement on Cllr Ridge to discharge her duties as a councillor in a disinterested fashion.” The Tribunal findings went on to describe the payments to Cllr Ridge as “entirely improper”.

Ó Broin said:

“The publication of the Mahon Report will be remembered as a very dark day in Irish politics. It proves beyond doubt and in great detail the corrupt relationship between developers and politicians in the rezoning of lands.

“Small numbers of people benefited enormously from this corrupt relationship. Meanwhile communities across the city were left living with the consequences of bad planning decisions by Councillors who themselves received payments in return for votes.

“The detail of the Tribunal report on the rezoning of land at Quarryvale makes uncomfortable reading for many former Clondalkin and Lucan Councillors including Fianna Fail’s Colm McGrath and Progressive Democrat’s Colm Tyndal.

“It also concludes that payments made by Frank Dunlop and Owen O’Callaghan to sitting Fine Gael Council Terese Ridge “compromised” her ability to fulfil her duties as a Councillor and that accepting these payments was “entirely improper”.

“The Tribunal Report details a series of payments and payments in kind made to Cllr Ridge from 1991 to 1997. These include direct contributions to local, general and Seanad election campaigns in 1991, 1992 and 1993; the covering of printing costs for literature in all three elections; flight costs to Cork for the purposes of canvassing local councillors with Owen O’Callaghan during the 1993 Seanad election campaign; and contributions to Fine Gael fund raising events in 1996 and 1997.

“During the course of his evidence to the Tribunal Frank Dunlop alleged that these direct and indirect payments came to more than €8,791 between 1991 and 1997. However the Tribunal could only substantiate a total of €6,606 during that period.

“What is clear is that Cllr Ridge accepted payment’s which compromised her role as an elected representative. While Cllr Ridge has given significant service to the people of Clondalkin since her election in 1985, her acceptance of these payments was wrong and now makes her position as a public representative untenable.

“The Mahon Tribunal sat for 15 years and has cost the taxpayer €300million. For all of this money and effort to have been worthwhile we need politicians who acted improperly to be held to account. This means that all of the sitting public representatives named in the Mahon Report as having accepted corrupt or improper payments must resign from public office in order for the public regain confidence in the political system.” ENDS

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