Belfast Telegraph

Final Mahon report 'due tomorrow'

Speculation has deepened that the fifth and final report of the longest corruption inquiry in Irish history is set to be published.

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, his ex-colleagues, the Government and political parties have been braced for months for the findings of the tribunal into planning matters and payments.

Fifteen years after its establishment and with costs estimated at up to 300 million euro, the long-awaited expose by Judge Alan Mahon is due to be sent to parliament before being published online.

Fallout is expected to focus on allegations that a developer boasted about paying off Mr Ahern with IR£50,000 in 1989, and a further IR£30,000 sum in 1992 when he was finance minister.

Ironically, the tribunal was set up by Mr Ahern's Fianna Fail government in 1997 to probe allegations of corruption and herald a new era in politics.

The former taoiseach has always denied taking payment for a political favour.

His evidence took the public on a mind-boggling trip through unsolicited whip-rounds, lodgements to various bank accounts - not to mention a lack of bank accounts - cash in bags and currency conversions.

Mr Ahern insisted the period was one of the most difficult of his life as he was going through marriage separation, had no home of his own and was not using bank accounts as his marriage came to an end.

The inquiry was originally sparked by cash for votes accusations in Dublin councils in the early 1990s which spread to include big hitters in the Fianna Fail party. TDs, ministers and former prime ministers all gave evidence.

Allegations centred on the bribing of councillors for the re-zoning of massive swathes of land around the capital from low value greenfield to lucrative commercial or residential sites.

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