A former Fine Gael town councillor, who received the longest prison sentence ever handed down for corruption by the Irish courts, has had his conviction quashed.

Fred Forsey Jr, from Dungarvan in Co Waterford, won his Supreme Court appeal over his conviction by a majority of four to one.

He was convicted in 2012 of receiving corrupt payments totalling €80,000 from a property developer in 2006. 

He was also found guilty of making representations to officials and members of Waterford County Council to get lands rezoned. 

He was sent to prison for four years and has already served his sentence.

He had denied the charges and claimed the monies were loans.

The matter will be back before the court in two weeks' time to allow the DPP make a decision on whether or not to seek a retrial.

Mr Forsey lost an appeal against his conviction in 2016 but got permission to bring this further appeal to the Supreme Court.

Giving the court's judgment this morning, Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley said there was a legal error on the part of the defence, prosecution and the judge in Mr Forsey's trial which meant Mr Forsey was subjected to a trial process that breached his right to be presumed innocent. 

She said the way Section 4 of the Prevention of Corruption Act had been interpreted in the trial was contrary to legal authority.

In a dissenting judgment, Mr Justice John McMenamin said he considered the prosecution case was overwhelming and the defence evidence concerning the alleged loan, was discredited to the extent no jury could have concluded Mr Forsey was not guilty.

It is understood Fred Forsey Jr is out of the country.

In a brief reaction to the judgment, his solicitor said Mr Forsey was delighted with the outcome and it was a vindication of his constitutional right to a fair trial.