Payments scandal reaches president

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An IRpounds 10,000 contribution to the Irish Labour Party for the 1990 Presidential election campaign of Mary Robinson was among the numerous political contributions made by supermarket group Dunnes Stores, it was disclosed yesterday.

Reports claim that a total of 12 politicians and different parties received payments totalling IRpounds 5m (pounds 5.005m) when the firm was being run by Ben Dunne, who was ousted as chairman in 1993 after a drugs and sex scandal. The Labour Party confirmed the payment yesterday, following reports that Dunnes' payments went beyond those to transport minister Michael Lowry who resigned last Saturday.

A former Fianna Fail minister, dubbed simply "You Know Who" in yesterday's newspaper headlines, has so far declined to respond to calls from his own party to explain the IRpounds 1.1m payments he received from Dunnes. The payments were detailed in an accountants' report after unusual cheque payments were noted after Mr Dunne's departure.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Dick Spring, spoke with a member of the Dunnes family yesterday and said afterwards: "They [Dunnes] want to co-operate in every way possible to clear up these matters. They understand the pall of suspicion over the body politic because of these allegations." He added: "It's an appalling situation that reflects very badly on the body politic. It is in every politician's interest that the information now being spoken about in the back of the bar is put into the public domain where it can be dealt with."