Fitzwilton to seek tribunal files on Burke payment

You might have all forgotten, since in a strange decision (well normal for those of us who believe in the Banana Republic) Ray ‘Rambo’ Burke was let out of prison quietly, early, and on the sly, in order to avoid a media scrum. How nice. Anyway he did spend time in prison, but the Mahon Tribunal still plods along. In the latest twist:

The President of the High Court will next week hear an application by Fitzwilton Ltd for access to documents from the Mahon tribunal.

The company wants the documents before the tribunal begins public hearings into a £30,000 payment by Fitzwilton to former minister Ray Burke for Fianna Fail funds.

Fitzwilton was last month granted leave to challenge, in judicial review proceedings, the tribunal’s decision not to divulge the contents of documents.

Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan will hear the case in the High Court next Monday.

Fitzwilton is seeking to quash the tribunal’s decision refusing access to particular documents and also wants an order compelling the tribunal to make the documents available to its legal team.

The High Court was told last month that, before the 1989 general election, Fianna Fail had officially solicited a political contribution of £30,000 from Fitzwilton, which the company agreed to make via Mr Burke.

The court heard that Mr Burke handed over only £10,000 of the contribution to Fianna Fail and that the company had not become aware until 1998 that Mr Burke had retained £20,000.

Fitzwilton was contacted by the tribunal in April 1998 about the contribution, which is now the subject of an investigation by the tribunal.

Now of course it is argued that the £30,000 (which was alot of money back then) was merely a political donation and no benefit would come to Fitzwilton for making it. Whether Rambo was supposed to get two thirds of it is another question.