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The Tribunal of Inquiry into certain Payments to Politicians and Related Matters (commonly referred to as the Moriarty Tribunal) is an Irish Public inquiry established in 1997 into the financial affairs of politicians Charles Haughey and Michael Lowry. It is still ongoing, but has revealed significant tax evasion by these and other politicians and leading businessmen. As a consequence, the tax authorities have recovered millions of euros in settlements and penalties from many individuals.

The final report of the tribunal is expected to be published in mid-January 2010.[1]



As a result of change of management in Dunnes Stores, a leading retail group in Ireland, it was revealed in the press that Ben Dunne had made substantial secret payments to the former Taoiseach Charles Haughey and Minister Michael Lowry. In response the Bruton Government established the The McCracken Inquiry in 1997 to investigate. The inquiry reported in late 1997 and confirmed the facts and revealed monies in secret Ansbacher accounts owned by Haughey for which it could not determine the source.


In response to the McCracken Report, the new Ahern Government issued terms of reference for a new follow-up tribunal on 26 September 1997. The sole member of the Tribunal is the Honourable Justice Michael Moriarty, leading to the name Moriarty Tribunal.

The terms were inquiry into (inter alia):

  • whether substantial payments which might not have been ethical to receive were made to Charles Haughey (Taoiseach during part of the time concerned) and Michael Lowry between 1 January 1979 and 31 December 1996,
  • the source of those payments,
  • whether payments were made to people holding public office,
  • whether Mr Haughey made any decisions benefiting a person making such a payment,
  • the source of money in various bank accounts in Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man,
  • whether the Republic's tax authorities were properly and timely informed of the existence of various payments and gifts to Messrs. Haughey and Lowry.

The Tribunal sat for the first time on 31 October 1997 but did not hear its first witness until 28 January 1999. As of September 2004, the Tribunal had sat on 286 days; the last sitting day was 2 March 2004 and further sittings have been suspended pending a High Court hearing. The tribunal has lasted much longer than anticipated and has cost the state millions in direct costs and legal assistance to witnesses.

The preliminary report into the Haughey payments was published on 19 December 2006.

Main Investigations

  • Dunne payments to Haughey
  • Use of accounts in Ansbacher by Haughey
  • Management of Haughey's financial affairs by Des Treanor
  • Awarding of the license to Esat by Lowry
  • Sale of Glen Ding Woods to CRH
  • Management of donations for a liver transplant for Brian Lenihan


  • Confirmation of facts regarding payments by Dunne to Haughey and Lowry
  • Confirmation of use of the Ansbacher accounts by Haughey
  • Mr. Haughey had obstructed the tribunal
  • Tax avoidance findings
  • Mr. Haughey stole a "sizeable proportion" from the Brian Lenihan medical fund and took steps to conceal his actions[2]
  • Claims that Mr. Haughey knew little about his own personal finances were rejected[3]
  • Charles Haughey accepted cash in return for favours throughout his political career.[4]


  • Investigations of Mr Haughey and Mr Lowry for tax evasion by the Revenue Commissioners. Settlements by both
  • Advance sale and leaseback of his home, Abbeville, by Mr Haughey
  • Revelations of use of the Ansbacher accounts by other businessmen and politicians for tax avoidance. An interim report on the lead to an investigation by the Department of Trade and Enterprise which named the holders, and led to Denis Foley TD leaving Fianna Fáil.
  • Related investigations on corruption by the press, such as that on Beverley Flynn Teachta Dála
  • Related investigations on the use of foreign accounts for tax evasion by the Dáil Public Accounts committee, leading to settlements by the banks, and thousands of individuals.

On 16 October 2009 businessman Denis O’Brien launched[1]. [5][6]The site was created by O’Brien to present his perspective on the work of the Moriarty Tribunal[7]
At launch the site covered, in detail, nine specific areas of the Tribunal’s inquiries (although new sections have been added to the site at regular intervals);
1. Moriarty Tribunal – Facts or Opinion?
2. Evidence of the Civil Servants
3. Evidence of Government Ministers
4. Michael Andersen/ Andersen Management International
5. Peter Bacon and the Moriarty Tribunal
6. Opinion of Richard Nesbitt S.C.
7. Persona/ Jerry Healy S.C.
8. The Confidentiality Protocols
9. Cost of the Moriarty Tribunal
The site claims to present a fuller picture of the work of the Tribunal, specifically regarding its inquiries into the issues surrounding the granting of the second mobile phone licence to Esat Digifone (of which O'Brien was a director and major shareholder) which was overseen by then Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications Michael Lowry TD as part of the Rainbow Coalition government.


  1. ^ Anxious wait for some as Moriarty report nears publication Irish Times 9 January 2010
  2. ^ Haughey stole from Lenihan medical fund - Tribunal
  3. ^ Tribunal 'cannot accept' Haughey knew little of finances
  4. ^ Haughey accepted cash for favours - Report
  5. ^ Denis O’Brien attacks Moriarty tribunal
  6. ^ Law Society refused O'Brien advert
  7. ^ O'Brien launches alternative tribunal website

See also

External links

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