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14 February 2008 Edition

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'No credibility' in Taoiseach's claim of Dáil privilege

Bertie Ahern

Bertie Ahern

THE decision by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to challenge the Mahon Tribunal in the High Court “undermines his claim to be co-operating totally with the Tribunal”, according to Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.
Ó Caoláin said there was no credibility in the Taoiseach’s claim of Dáil privilege for statements he has made on his personal finances.
Ahern was granted permission in the High Court on Monday, 11 February, to take judicial review proceedings against the tribunal on three separate grounds. These include a claim by the Taoiseach that the tribunal has no right to question him about statements he made in the Dáil. A date for a full hearing of the issues concerned has not yet been set. Ó Caoláin said:
“The Taoiseach’s decision to challenge the Mahon Tribunal in the High Court undermines his claim to be co-operating totally with the Tribunal. It also runs contrary to the claimed full support for the tribunal voted by the Government parties on the resumption of the Dáil.
“There is no credibility in the Taoiseach’s attempt to use Dáil privilege to prevent the tribunal from questioning him on his personal finances. These were public statements made in the Dáil. Is the Taoiseach saying that he can be questioned on these matters by the media but not by the tribunal? That is not a sustainable position for a serving Taoiseach. The Taoiseach must be able to stand over what he says in the Dáil without running to court to claim privilege.”
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