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Testimony ‘not about getting revenge for Frank Connolly’

Resource type: News

Independent |

By Fergus Black and Lorna Reid

BROADCASTER Eamon Dunphy was persuaded by controversial journalist Frank Connolly that his information on alleged payments to the Taoiseach was significant, he admitted yesterday.

Mr Dunphy denied that he had gone to the tribunal for “revenge” over how Dail privilege led to the controversial closure of the Centre for Public Inquiry, of which Mr Connolly was executive director.

In 2005, answering a written question in the Dail — with the protection of Dail privilege — Justice Minister Michael McDowell said Mr Connolly had travelled to Colombia under an assumed identity with a subversive.

US billionaire Chuck Feeney’s charitable trust Atlantic Philanthropies later withdrew funding from the Centre for Public Inquiry which subsequently closed down.

Yesterday, Mr Dunphy said he had been very, very disturbed by the use of Dail privilege to damage his friend, journalist Frank Connolly.

What had happened was disturbing and sinister, he said. But he denied that he decided to go to the Mahon Tribunal to wreak revenge over what had happened to Mr Connolly.

Mr Dunphy said that had the tribunal asked him to testify he would have done so.

He had been very reluctant to disclose confidential information but after what happened to Mr Connolly there was a “change in my disposition” and far from hiding that fact, he disclosed to the tribunal that what had happened to Mr Connolly had affected him.

Mr Dunphy said he had believed that the information he had in relation to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was of little relevance in the overall scheme of things.

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