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Colleagues leap to defence of Taoiseach over payments ordeal

Published 23/09/2006

The Taoiseach has been defended by his party colleagues following revelations that he is being investigated by the Mahon Tribunal.

Pressure has increased on Bertie Ahern to clarify the nature of certain payments made to him as Finance Minister in 1993.

The opposition said they will demand he issues an explanation in the Dail next week.

But Education Minister Mary Hanafin said there is no suggestion on impropriety on the Taoiseach's part.

And junior minister Conor Lenihan said Bertie Ahern is the most honest leader this country has seen:

"I don't think this will cause any problems for the Taoiseach," he said. "And I know the Taoiseach is one of the most honest leaders we've ever had in this country. I really don't think there is any issue for him to answer, but I'm sure if he wants to answer and clarify he will."

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