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02-09-1997 Statement by the Taoiseach on the report of the McCracken Tribunal


The Government is united in its determination to investigate all outstanding issues of concern arising from the excellent Report of the McCracken Tribunal. Some of the judgements of the Tribunal are very similar to points that I made myself, when it was established, when I said that the public needed 'an absolute guarantee of the financial probity and integrity of their elected representatives', and 'to know that they are not under financial obligations to anybody'. The whole context of the debate and of my remarks then and subsequently was about personal gifts rather than political contributions for political purposes.

The Tribunal shows that our democratic system is able to respond without fear or favour, when serious and specific allegations have been made against office-holders or former office-holders, with the full co-operation of the Government and of all parties in the Oireachtas.

We need a new Tribunal to deal with the questions that arise from the McCracken Report.

My sole concern at this stage is to get the terms of reference of the Tribunal right, so that it can resolve, as far as possible, any remaining anxieties with regard to the conduct of Ministerial office in recent times. The public are not interested in playing politics or jockeying for political advantage. We also clearly need to establish a more permanent means of dealing with allegations of a serious nature that arise from time to time, such as a Public Ethics Commission.

I propose to meet with other political leaders with a view to getting the broadest measure of agreement as to how to proceed. The Tribunal needs to be focused in its terms of reference, which at the same time need to be sufficiently broad so as to obviate the need for recourse to any further inquiry or Tribunal directly stemming from the Dunne's payments.

2 September 1997