From left: Sculptor Richard Enda King, Councillor Seán Walsh and Pádraig Flynn
On this day in 1989, Minister for the Environment Pádraig Flynn unveiled a new sculpture ‘Spirit of The Air’ to be installed at Dublin Airport.
1989 was the same year developer Tom Gilmartin wrote a cheque for £50,000 as a donation to Fianna Fáil as suggested by Pádraig Flynn. The cheque never made it to Fianna Fáil HQ and was subsequently discovered by the Mahon tribunal that it was used to buy a 100-acre farm in north Mayo by Mr Flynn’s wife, Dorothy.
That Pádraig Flynn Late Late Show interview in 1999 which prompted Mr Gilmartin to give evidence to the Mahon Tribunal.
On Tom Gilmartin:
“Haven’t seen him now for some years. I met him. He’s a Sligo man who went to England, made a lot of money, came back, wanted to do a lot of business in Ireland. Didn’t work out for him, didn’t work out for him. He’s not well, his wife isn’t well and he’s…he’s out of sorts.
I never took money from anybody to do a political favour in so far as planning is concerned.”
On his daughter Beverley Flynn:
“She’s a class act. She’s going to be proved right and she’s going to have a good career and I think she’s good for Dáil Éireann and I think she’s going to make an excellent politician.”
When asked by audience member, journalist Barry O’Halloran about his pay and expenses:
“I get give or take, it works out at about with expenses 140,000 a year and I pay 30.3% tax on that, so it’s about a net 100,000 and out of that 100,000 I run a home in Dublin, Castlebar and Brussels. I wanna tell you something, try it sometime…”
(Tom Gilmartin leaving the Mahon Tribumal in 2007)
He brought down Bertie Ahern, the most successful taoiseach ever in electoral terms and he brought an ignominious end to the overweening arrogance of Pee Flynn.
His evidence brought the likes of Liam Lawlor, George Redmond and Frank Dunlop to book, along with a supporting cast of strutting suits willing to spin any old yarn to support their threadbare testimony.
Tom is dead now. But he’s left a legacy more valuable than any plot of land ever fought over by the rezoning vultures.