29/02/2008

Burke Fit For Work But Shirks Gardaí Probe

Controversial figure and close friend of Bertie Ahern, Joe Burke, is to return to work next week while apparently too ill to answer gardaí questions.

Joe Burke, who was appointed Chairman of the Dublin Port Company, has informed his team of Directors he will return to work next Thursday despite still being wanted for questioning over a sexual assault allegation.

The alleged assault took place on New Year’s Day after the 53 year-old Burke met a young woman in a Dublin and took her and a friend to a €4 million mansion owned by Businessman Barry English, in Malahide, in Dublin.

The 23-year-old woman made a 999 call at 5.36am alleging a sexual assault. Almost simultaneously Mr Burke also called gardaí and asked them to come to the mansion.

Upon arrival on the scene, the woman made a statement to gardaí and was medically examined.

Mr Burke’s wife, Fianna Fail Senator Maria Corrigan, left that morning for a holiday in the US.

The allegation is the third claim of sexual assault against Mr Burke. The company Chairman denied the first allegations.

Gardaí are still awaiting clearance from Mr Burke’s medical team to begin questioning him about the incident.

An officer said: "As soon as he is deemed medically fit to be questioned, that will happen."

The return of the Chairman to work has caused widespread bemusement, as it was widely believed Mr Burke would resign his €20,000 per year post after several weeks in a clinic.

(DW)


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