Payments to Burke were meant to include councillors, tribunal told

 

Mr James Gogarty told the tribunal that payments made to Mr Ray Burke were partly intended to cover the payment to named councillors who supported rezoning motions. He said he had named the councillors to Mr Frank Connolly of the Sunday Business Post.

Mr Gogarty was being cross-examined by Mr Garrett Cooney SC, for the Murphy group. When asked if he had told Mr Connolly in the expectation that the names would be published, Mr Gogarty said he told the journalist on the basis of what Mr Michael Bailey, the developer, had told him.

Asked if the councillors were named subsequently by Mr Connolly, Mr Gogarty said they could have been. Mr Cooney said that Mr Ray Burke, Mr Michael Bailey and Mr Joseph Murphy jnr were named, and he, Mr Gogarty, was named.

Were councillors, who it was alleged had received payment, ever named? "I named them to Mr Connolly and Mr Bailey named them to me," Mr Gogarty said.

Asked why Mr Connolly had not named them in the newspaper, Mr Gogarty said Mr Cooney would have to ask Mr Connolly. Asked if he had ever acted as a conduit for information to Mr Connolly about other politicians, more prominent than local authority councillors, Mr Gogarty said: "I could have done in passing, but that's not my recollection." Mr Cooney asked him about an article in the Sunday Business Post on May 31st, 1998. Mr Cooney asked if it was possible that in addition to Mr Burke, Mr Gogarty also named other people to Mr Connolly. Mr Gogarty said it was quite possible but he could not swear to it. Mr Cooney said he either did or he did not. Mr Gogarty replied: "I'll say that I did. Will that satisfy you?"

Mr Cooney asked if he named other politicians. Mr Gogarty said he could have. Mr Cooney said he either did or did not. Mr Gogarty said: "You could ask me another 57 times on oath like you did before and I will tell you the same thing on oath, that I can't be sure of that. I am not going to deny it. But I can't be sure of it."

Mr Cooney said an article in the newspaper said that the payments were partly intended to cover the payment to other named councillors who would support rezoning motions. "Now again, Mr Connolly appears to be reporting what you said to him, that the payments were partly intended to cover the payment to other named councillors who support rezoning motions, is that right?"

"That's what Mr Bailey said to me," Mr Gogarty said.

Mr Cooney said the article stated that the company director (Mr Gogarty) had said the money, in two cheques of a £40,000 each, were paid over by persons in the living room of Mr Burke's house. There was no doubt that that conflicted with the evidence Mr Gogarty had given to the tribunal.

Mr Gogarty said: "Yes, well, it adds up to £40,000 each."

Asked again whether it conflicted with his evidence to the tribunal, Mr Gogarty said: "Do you mean I'm telling a lie?" Mr Cooney said the question was simple. Mr Gogarty said: "It conflicts."

Mr Cooney said it conflicted with Mr Gogarty's evidence when he said that £30,000 was paid in cash, that he counted it and that it was supplemented in an envelope with a cheque for £10,000. It was also stated that Mr Bailey gave Mr Burke an envelope, believed to contain cash.

The chairman said: "At this point in time, I know that evidence nearly as well as I know the Lord's Prayer." Here was a statement which said there was a payment of £80,000 by way of two cheques. There was a variation as to how it was carried out. The writer was Mr Connolly. How he came to put that in was something Mr Connolly should be talking about and not this witness.