George Redmond said he did not ask developers for money
He disputed planning tribunal findings that he was corrupt and used another case to challenge them
George Redmond outside the Flood tribunal in 1999. Photograph: Paddy Whelan
George Redmond once described the payments he got from developers during his career as a “sword of Damocles”.
Now, 25 years after his career ended and a decade after the planning tribunal found he was corrupt, Mr Redmond has been exonerated and vindicated.
Not many young people will know the frail 90-year-old. In his time, Mr Redmond was the most powerful figure in planning in Co Dublin. “I was the council, I had the powers,” he told the tribunal.
In the 1990s, his activities were investigated by the tribunal and the Criminal Assets Bureau. His said he gave advice when asked and never solicited money. In 1999 he was arrested at Dublin airport with £300,000 (€380,000) in cash and cheques on returning from the Isle of Man. This led to a £782,000 tax settlement with the Revenue Commissioners. He paid this by selling the family home.
That was one of many low points in his retirement. He spent months in the witness box in Dublin Castle, where lawyers estimated his lodgements were equivalent in value to “one substantial house per annum”. The tribunal report, now quashed, said he had corruptly received payments from developers as well as hindering and obstructing the inquiry.
Mr Redmond always disputed the tribunal’s findings and started a High Court case to overturn them. But without the resources to pursue the action, it went nowhere until new evidence emerged in other cases.
Crucially, a case taken by Joseph Murphy junior, one of the developers who the tribunal said had bribed Mr Redmond, uncovered evidence that the inquiry had withheld relevant material.
This involved allegations made by the late James Gogarty, the chief whistleblower in the tribunal’s early work, for which there appeared to be no foundation.
Had this information been available, it might have affected Mr Gogarty’s credibility in relation to his main allegations.
This revelation helped Mr Murphy to kick a hole in the tribunal’s defences; he won his case on the issue of costs, and a finding of hindering and obstructing the inquiry was struck out. Now Mr Redmond has flattened the wall completely by using the same material to overturn a finding of corruption, as well as winning on costs.
Will others now seek to follow in his wake?