Mr Desmond,whose business(Stockbrokers) benefitted hugely from his association with C.J. Haughey, and who was present at both Mr Haughey's removal and funeral earlier this year, said he never witnessed any corrupt practices in the 20 years that he was friends with the former Taoiseach even though the tribunal found that Mr Haughey took €45m in today's money from taxpayers, political allies and ailing friends in order to fund his lavish lifestyle and found his corruption ultimately "devalued the quality of a modern democracy".
And he took a swipe at its refusal to accept at face value his own claims that he received no favours from Mr Haughey in exchange for the €95,000 he paid to have Mr Haughey's Celtic Mist yacht repaired.
"Maybe the people at the tribunal don't have friends or don't understand how in Ireland most people, if they can, help out their friends in need," he said.
THE book is closed, said Mary O'Rourke on Tuesday, as she mulled over the Moriarty Tribunal report in December 2006 Hardly had she finished speaking than her nephew Conor Lenihan tore it open again.
If ever there was an occasion for keeping the book closed, this was it: the aftermath of the Moriarty Report, which had confirmed a catalogue of wrongdoing by Charles J Haughey including, most devastatingly, the theft of funds raised for Brian Lenihan senior's life-saving liver transplant in the US.
the Clown in the Lenihan Cupboard.?
Lenihans are smart people and most of them can see a choice when it stares them in the face.
They had a choice on Tuesday. They could keep their mouths as firmly closed as the book. Or they could talk and say nothing. Mary chose the latter. Conor unwisely took neither. His over-the-top performance on RTE's Prime Time was astonishing.
Without any provocation, he cast himself in the role of defender of Haughey and of Bertie Ahern, the man who a few months ago described the disgraced Taoiseach as "a patriot to his fingertips". He interrupted other contributors even though he had little coherent to say. They must have been as baffled as viewers who remembered how his late father's political career had ended in 1990.
Haughey sacked Lenihan, his Tanaiste and Defence Minister - and old friend and loyal political associate - at the dictation of his coalition partners the Progressive Democrats. Lenihan had refused to resign because he rejected an accusation that he had lied to the Irish people about an incident in 1982.
The ironies are enormous when one remembers the innumerable thumping lies in which Haughey was caught out before his death. But the circumstances were less important than the politics. One of his closest friends told me after the capitulation: "He should have told the PDs to eff off." And so he should. He should not have pandered to their taste for red meat.
Soon they came looking for his own head on a plate, and got it. Poetic justice, but it did not restore Brian Lenihan's career or silence his detractors.
Which is worse, to betray an old friend or to steal money contributed for the purpose of saving his life? Let moralists ponder that. Here's a political question.
What organisation demands public declarations in favour of persons who have grievously wronged your nearest and dearest? Here's a clue in the form of another question. What organisation's membership features grown men who weep publicly and loudly at funerals?
Tom Gilmartin, billed for an early appearance as a witness at another tribunal, told a number of Fianna Fail ministers that they were worse than the Mafia. Well, no. Nobody is sleeping with the fishes.
The devaluation of Irish democracy deplored by Mr Justice Michael Moriarty has gone nowhere near as far as the undermining of Italian society by a combination of the Mafia, corrupt politicians of both (formerly) main parties, and a Masonic lodge with a membership ranging from cardinals to newspaper editors.
But you can't be a little bit corrupt, any more than you can be a little bit pregnant. Anyone who took a trifle like IR£1,000 from Frank Dunlop set his foot on the slippery slope that led to the tribunals. And grander folk, though they talk a great game, have not convinced some of us they have "changed the culture".
Here's another question, one that many have asked since the publication of the Moriarty Report and some asked before.
Haughey stole money from the Fianna Fail Party. To the best of any outsider's knowledge, the party has made no efforts to get it back. Why? Could an inquiry reveal embarrassing information, like the survival of the old culture in crevices still undiscovered?
And here's a final question. There are chapters of this book that remain closed. For example, Moriarty has not got to the bottom of the "Fustok affair" involving a Saudi sheikh and his friends and relations, the sale of passports by the dozen, and a supposed transaction in which a horse changed hands for IR£50,000.
We can pretty well forget about the horse. You can sell a thoroughbred yearling for IR£50,000 or IR£5,000 or (if you're unlucky) IR£500, but you can't sell bloodstock without documents. And a person engaged in dodgy transactions won't sell a dozen passports, or a single passport, for IR£50,000.
If nine years and €25m failed to find an answer for Moriarty, ordinary mortals might despair. But you never know. Whistleblowers do emerge. Things could get better.
Mind you, they could get worse. The capi may not rest content with tears and bearhugs. They may wish to introduce kneeling and kissing hands. Oh, and sentimental songs. But they have these already in the Galway tent.
James Downey is the author of Lenihan: His Life and Loyalties, a biography of the late Brian Lenihan