Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy, Jerry Buttimer, speaking tonight (Friday) at the Annual General Meeting of Cork South Central Young Fine Gael, said that the report of the Mahon Tribunal links the actions of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to the current Fianna Fáil leadership.  Deputy Buttimer went on to say that the report makes it imperative that the government advances its proposed political reforms.
“The most surprising thing about the Final Report of the Mahon Tribunal is that it simply confirms what everyone already knew about former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.  It creates a direct link between the actions of Bertie Ahern and the current Fianna Fáil leadership.  Those who sat around the cabinet table with Ahern repeatedly gave him their full confidence; no matter what way you look at it, there is simply no getting away from that.
“No matter what way you dress it up, Micheál Martin is inextricably linked to Bertie Ahern. His continued loyalty to Ahern throughout his leadership led to him being a part of Bertie’s inner circle, and to creating a strategy for Bertie to get through the 2007 election campaign even when Mahon leaks appeared.
“While the findings of the Mahon Tribunal raise very particular matters for Fianna Fáil it poses a challenge to all politicians and all political parties.  It has damaged the general perception of politicians, not just those who it has found against.
“It is crucial that we turn this tide and do everything in our power to restore faith in politics.  All politicians have an obligation to carry out their duties appropriately, to be above reproach.  Following the publication of this report it is imperative that the government progresses its proposed political reforms.
“I am very conscious that the people want politicians to be proactive on political reform. Reform must come, be it in the shape of the banning of corporate donations or the registering of lobbyists. The Government has committed to bringing about political reform and it cannot be a mere mantra.
“We must ensure that the time, effort and expense that went into this report are not wasted and that it doesn’t sit on a shelf gathering dust. It will be debated in the Dáil next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and I look forward to engaging in that debate.”