The Flood Tribunal has heard that it now appears that the PR Consultant Frank Dunlop was given more than £230,000 from the property developer Owen O Callaghan. Last week Mr Dunlop told the tribunal he was given £175,000. The Tribunal heard details of another account operated by Mr Dunlop in the early nineties.
The Flood Tribunal heard that withdrawals from an account operated by Mr Dunlop coincided with rezoning motions on the Quarryvale lands in West Dublin. More than £173,000 pounds was lodged to this account in 1991. This money was in addition to £175,000 paid to Mr Dunlop by the property developer Owen O Callaghan. Mr Dunlop said no payments were made in his name for illicit or improper purposes.
The money was lodged to this account in the AIB in Rathfarnham in four instalments in 1991. It was then withdrawn in a steady stream of sums ranging from £1000 to £35,000 which were taken out in cash or bank drafts between May and September of that year. When Frank Dunlop was asked to account for this money, where it came from and where it went, he said he could not. "As of now, at this moment I cannot tell you,” he said. He did say that the money had been concealed from the Revenue Commissioners.
He was asked to comment on the fact that the withdrawals coincided with rezoning motions. He said it was undeniably coincidental but he said if the tribunal was asking if any illicit payments were made then the answer was an emphatic no. Mr Justice Flood described this account as a unique account, designed for a purpose, and perhaps Mr Dunlop should reflect on this overnight.
Last week the tribunal heard of payments totalling £175,000 paid to Frank Dunlop by the property developer Owen O Callaghan. It existence of the additional money was revealed following a second order of discovery. The account was in the name of Frank Dunlop and his wife. Mr Dunlop admitted that he was the person who controlled the money.
The Flood Tribunal has also been hearing that Mr Dunlop was allowed to withdraw money from an AIB bank account even though he had no ostensible connection with the company that held the account. The Tribunal was told what he did with the £175,000 he was paid by the property developer Owen O Callaghan in the early nineties.
Some of this money was put into an account held in the name of a company called Shefran Ltd. Mr Dunlop said he used this company to conceal money from the revenue commissioners but his ownership of the company was unofficial - the company had different directors. Counsel for the Tribunal asked Mr Dunlop how he had managed to withdraw money from the Shefran account since he had no formal connection with that company. Mr Dunlop said the deputy manager of the College Green branch of the AIB was aware that Shefran Ltd was in fact him.
Mr Dunlop earlier confirmed to the Tribunal that the late Tom Hand, a former Fine Gael Dublin County councillor, asked him for £250,000 in return for his support on a rezoning decision. But Mr Dunlop denied that he gave this information to the journalist Sam Smyth. The Flood Tribunal has queried how the information came to be published in the national media last week.
Frank Dunlop shocked the Tribunal last week when he said that one Dublin councillor had asked him for money in return for his support for the rezoning of land at Quarryvale where the Liffey Valley shopping centre was later built. Frank Dunlop was working for the developers. On Friday the Irish Independent published an article saying that Councillor was the late Tom Hand. Today Mr Dunlop confirmed the contents of the newspaper article but denied giving journalist Sam Smyth the information. He said that he got a number of phone calls from Mr Smyth before the article was published. Mr Smyth said the Fine Gael leader John Bruton had gone ballistic and that Leinster house was agog.
Mr Smyth said sources in Leinster House had given him the information, described here this morning as very detailed and specific. Earlier legal representatives for Tom Hand's widow and children said they were highly upset and hurt at the manner in which the allegations had been made public in the media.