Former Fine Gael politician Liam Cosgrave has failed in his attempt to stop his trial on corruption charges.

Mr Cosgrave is charged with corruptly receiving payments in relation to land re-zoning at Carrickmines in Dublin while a county councillor in the 1990s.

He had appealed against the High Court's refusal to stop his trial.

But this morning the Supreme Court upheld the High Court's decision by a majority of three to two.

Mr Cosgrave pleaded guilty in October 2005 to a single count of knowingly making a false or misleading declaration contrary to the Electoral Act.

He was sentenced to 75 hours of community service.

His lawyers argued he should not have faced corruption charges five and a half years later as the corruption charges were based on the same statements made by Frank Dunlop in 2003 and 2004 when Mr Cosgrave was prosecuted on the lesser charge.

The Chief Justice, Ms Justice Susan Denham, said an application to stop a trial would only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

She said it was not an abuse of process to prosecute Mr Cosgrave on the current charges.

She said that it was just and appropriate for the DPP to await the prosecution and conviction of Frank Dunlop before prosecuting Mr Cosgrave on the corruption charges - upon which Mr Dunlop would be a key witness.

She also ruled that there was very significant public interest in permitting allegations of the corruption of public officials to go to trial.

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman and Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell disagreed with the majority decision.

Mr Justice Hardiman said he could not accept the proposition that Mr Cosgrave could not have been charged with corruption in 2005 because Mr Dunlop had not himself been prosecuted.

Mr Justice O'Donnell found that the Electoral Act offence and the corruption offences could have been tried together in 2005.

Mr Cosgrave's trial has been delayed pending the outcome of this appeal.