Chuck Feeney’s investigations

An interesting wrinkle in the Connolly-McDowell saga reported in the Irish Times. According to the report by Mark Hennessy and Liam Reid, “Billionaire Chuck Feeney hired a private investigator last July to inquire into allegations that Frank Connolly had travelled to Colombia in 2001 on a false passport.”[subs req] and that “The investigator, Dermot Benn of Risk Management International, which is based in Dublin, initially gave a qualified bill of health to Mr Connolly”More from the report in the Irish Times

Mr Benn, a former Army intelligence officer, told Atlantic Philanthropies that gardaí were “not currently concerned” with Mr Connolly.

Mr Benn met John R. Healy, chief executive officer and director of Atlantic Philanthropies, on July 27th, and reported a day later by telephone.

He said that he had been informed by security contacts that the Centre for Public Inquiry (CPI), which had its funding withdrawn last week by Atlantic Philanthropies, was “an august body”. He also said gardaí had informed him they had “no concerns on the people” involved in the CPI and there was “nothing on passports”.

He is believed to have made a second report to Atlantic Philanthropies some time later, the contents of which could not be confirmed by The Irish Times at the time of writing last night.

And other details of the discussions between Atlantic Philanthropies and the CPI –

It has been confirmed that senior figures in Atlantic Philanthropies met in Dublin in early September for talks on the difficulties caused for the foundation by its association with Mr Connolly, the CPI’s executive director. There was concern that the controversy was undermining the reputation of Mr Feeney and the foundation. The meeting outlined a number of options, including asking both Mr Connolly and retired High Court judge Feargus Flood to step down as executive director and chairman, respectively.

Members of Atlantic Philanthropies spoke to Mr Connolly on October 6th and asked him to consider his position “for the well-being” of the CPI.

The report also says that CPI are expected to release a statement in the next couple of days.

  • It’s interesting to compare this to the Irish Independent report on the conclusions of private investigators, which suggests (if not blatantly states) that the private eyes confirmed the Minister’s ‘intelligence’ on this matter.

  • Pete Baker


    The Irish Times does say that the first report from the investigator “initially gave a qualified bill of health to Mr Connolly”.. but it also mentions a second report.

    However the Irish Independent also has a somewhat different time-line on when the investigator was hired

    The Irish-American billionaire met the minister in Dublin in September and his charity subsequently hired the services of Kroll Associates, leading US private investigators.

    It is understood that reports from private investigators in Dublin, Colombia and the US corroborated the details about Mr Connolly and the CPI in Mr McDowell’s briefing.

    A local agency was retained in Dublin. They reported to Krolls in the US where all the information was collated and then presented to Mr Feeney.