Property developer Jim Kennedy dies in London

Businessman found by planning tribunal to have engaged in ‘corrupt activity’ around land rezoning in 1990s

The death has taken place in a London hospital of businessman Jim Kennedy, who was found by the planning tribunal to have engaged in “corrupt activity” around land rezoning in the 1990s. He was 76.

A veteran of many legal scrapes, Mr Kennedy was central to the tribunal’s investigations into lands at Carrickmines in south Dublin but refused to appear before the inquiry.

One tribunal witness said he was “perceived as a hustler, wheeler dealer type who is probably devious and certainly litigious”.

He faced criminal charges for corruption but the Director of Public Prosecutions withdrew the case in 2013 because of the ill-health of the main witness, former lobbyist Frank Dunlop who served a prison term for bribing councillors.


Mr Kennedy had pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Circuit Criminal Court heard he “emphatically denied” giving Mr Dunlop £25,000 in 1991 to bribe councillors to vote in favour of rezoning land.

Mr Kennedy, who then had an address in Gibraltar, told gardaí he could have bought “a small house for that” sum.

In its final report in 2013, however, the tribunal accepted Mr Dunlop’s testimony that Mr Kennedy was aware money would have to be paid to councillors as part of any rezoning campaign in order to secure sufficient political support for rezoning.

“The tribunal also accepted Mr Dunlop’s evidence that a sum of IR£25,000 was duly handed over in the manner outlined by him and for the purposes stated by him. The tribunal was satisfied that it was intended by Mr Kennedy that Mr Dunlop would use all or a portion of the IR£25,000 to make corrupt payments to councillors,” the report said.

While it appeared Mr Dunlop did not report to Mr Kennedy on payments made to councillors, the requirement for payments was the “overarching consideration” that permeated the dealings between the two men. “The tribunal found that the same constituted corrupt activity on the part of Mr Dunlop and Mr Kennedy.”

Mr Kennedy’s death on Monday was confirmed by his wife, Antoinette Kennedy. In a statement, his family said the father of 10 had died after “a short illness”.

From a farming background in Abbeyleix, Co Laois, he rose to prominence as auctioneer and property developer based in Lucan, Co Dublin.

He claimed to be a majority shareholder in an amusement arcade in Westmoreland Street, Dublin, and once owned the Laurels pub in Clondalkin.

He was friendly terms with the late George Redmond, former assistant Dublin county and city manager who himself became embroiled in the tribunal.

In correspondence with the tribunal, Mr Kennedy denied having any interest in the Carrickmines lands or in any company associated with them.

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times