Dunlop tells court of paying councillors

Former government press secretary tells corruption trial he gave £25,000 to eight councillors

Mr Dunlop said he was given the money by businessman James Kennedy in the basement of his amusement arcade “in the full knowledge” it would be used to pay county councillors.

Mr Dunlop said he was given the money by businessman James Kennedy in the basement of his amusement arcade “in the full knowledge” it would be used to pay county councillors.

 



Former government press secretary Frank Dunlop has told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court he paid £25,000 to eight Dublin councillors to secure the rezoning of land in south Dublin.

Mr Dunlop said he was given the money by businessman James Kennedy in the basement of his amusement arcade “in the full knowledge” it would be used to pay county councillors.

Pleading not guilty
Mr Kennedy, of Queen’s Way, Gibraltar, is pleading not guilty to 16 charges of making corrupt payments between 1992 and 1997 to secure the rezoning of the so-called Jackson Way lands. Three former councillors and one serving councillor deny Mr Dunlop’s allegation that they received corrupt payments. The other four councillors are deceased.

Beginning his evidence in the trial of the five men before Judge Mary Ellen Ring, Mr Dunlop said he was promised a £100,000 success fee if the rezoning succeeded. When the rezoning was rejected by Dublin County Council, he tried again in 1997.

On this occasion, Mr Kennedy offered him an acre of commercial land as a success fee, Mr Dunlop told the court. In December 1997, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council rezoned the land by 13 votes to 11. Beginning his evidence in the trial, Mr Dunlop described how he went about the first rezoning attempt by approaching “stalwarts” in Fianna Fáil and then sought “cross-party support” by contacting Fine Gael councillors.

He listed a series of alleged payments to the four accused councillors, including a total of £7,000 to former Fine Gael TD Liam Cosgrave, a total of £7,000 to independent (and former Fianna Fáil) councillor Tony Fox, £2,000 to former Fianna Fáil councillor Colm McGrath and £3,000 to former Fianna Fáil senator Don Lydon.

He said he paid £1,000 each to Fianna Fáil councillors Seán Gilbride, Cyril Gallagher and Jack Larkin, who are now deceased. The late Fine Gael councillor Tom Hand is alleged to have received £3,000.

The alleged payments were made in a variety of locations in Dublin, including Conway’s pub, the offices of Dublin County Council, Buswells Hotel, the Davenport Hotel and Mr Dunlop’s offices, he told the court. Mr Dunlop continues his evidence today.

The trial is expected to last until the end of the month.