Mahon tribunal witness Tom Gilmartin dies

Allegations about payments was damaging to senior politicians

Tom Gilmartin photographed leaving the Mahon Tribunal at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Tom Gilmartin photographed leaving the Mahon Tribunal at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

The death has taken place of the businessman Tom Gilmartin, whose testimony to the Planning Tribunal in Dublin Castle about alleged political corruption was damaging to senior politicians .

Mr Gilmartin, who told the tribunal his efforts to build a shopping centre in Quarryvale, in West Dublin, came up against repeated requests for payments to politicians, died today in Cork University Hospital.

A spokesman for the family said Mr Gilmartin died peacefully. “The family would appreciate that our privacy be respected at this difficult time. We will greatly miss a much loved husband, father and grandfather. We mourn the loss of a truly honest, honourable and courageous man. There will be no further media comment for the present.”

Mr Gilmartin had moved back to Cork in recent years, having lived and worked for much of his life in England.

Mr Gilmartin’s testimony that he had been told by developer Owen O’Callaghan, that he, Mr O’Callaghan, had paid money to Mr Ahern, led to a lengthy examination of the politician’s personal finances by the tribunal.

In its final report the tribunal said it did not accept Mr Ahern’s evidence in relation to certain lodgements to his bank accounts and could not say where the money had come from.

Mr Ahern and Mr O’Callaghan denied any payments had been made.

Last year, in an article in The Irish Times, Thomas Gilmartin jnr said that without his father, “Ireland would never have found out about the corrupt activities of people like Frank Dunlop, nor the existence of a corruption ring at the heart of planning in Ireland.”

He said when his father came back to Ireland to give evidence, he was not only disbelieved, he was put through a sustained and systematic process of vilification and ridicule by politicians up to and including the then taoiseach and his cabinet, and also by prominent journalists and commentators.

“Ireland owes my father a debt of gratitude for doing what he has done. He is owed an apology by the State and by certain parts of the political and media establishment for what was done to him.”

Mr Gilmartin is survived by his wife Vera and four children.