Corruption trial underway over Dublin land rezoning

Thursday 04 July 2013 23.49
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Jim Kennedy denies 16 charges of making corrupt payments
Jim Kennedy denies 16 charges of making corrupt payments
The trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court is expected to last until the end of the month
The trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court is expected to last until the end of the month

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard that the businessman Jim Kennedy paid cash to councillors in return for their votes to rezone land in south Dublin.

Mr Kennedy, 66, with an address at Queens Way, Gibraltar, is pleading not guilty to 16 charges of making corrupt payments between 1992 and 1997 concerning the so called “Jackson Way” lands.

Three former councillors and one serving councillor deny receiving bribes.

Lobbyist and former Government Press Secretary Frank Dunlop told the court today that he acted on behalf of Mr Kennedy, who wanted the land in Carrickmines, Dublin rezoned.

He said he met Mr Kennedy in the basement of his amusement arcade in 1991, where he was given £25,000 in cash to be used to pay councillors to vote in favour of the rezoning.

Mr Dunlop was promised a £100,000 success fee for himself.

This vote was narrowly defeated, but Mr Dunlop tried again five years later.

This time, the court heard Mr Kennedy would not pay any more money but agreed to give him an acre of rezoned land as a success fee.

Mr Dunlop said he gave former Fine Gael TD and then councillor Liam Cosgrave, 57, with an address at Blackrock, Co Dublin a total of £7,000 for the two Carrickmines votes.

He said Independent councillor (formerly of Fianna Fáil) Tony Fox, 72, of Churchtown, Dublin also got £7,000 for both votes.

Former Fianna Fáil councillor Colm McGrath, 56, of Saggart, Co Dublin got £2,000 for the first vote.

Former Fianna Fáil senator and then councillor Don Lydon, 74, with an address in Stillorgan, Co Dublin got £3,000 for the first vote, the court heard.

All the defendants denied the charges.

Mr Dunlop said three Fianna Fáil councillors Sean Gilbride, Cyril Gallagher and Jack Larkin, who are now deceased, got £1,000 each for the first Carrickmines vote and that the late Tom Hand of Fine Gael got £3,000.

When asked how the payments were made Mr Dunlop replied: "Cash. I don't want to be facetious but there was only one currency".

The trial continue before a jury in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court tomorrow.