Belfast Telegraph

Five face charges over land deal

Four former Fianna Fail politicians and a Gibraltar-based businessman have appeared in court over an alleged corrupt multimillion-euro land deal.

Former Senator Don Lydon, former councillors Sean Gilbride and Colm McGrath and the now independent Tony Fox appeared at an evening sitting of Dublin District Court.

Businessman Jim Kennedy, who was treated for heart trouble after his arrest on Tuesday, faced six charges of paying off politicians in order to rezone land. Gardai told the court they have wanted to question the businessman, now a British citizen after renouncing his Irish citizenship in 2002, for eight years.

The five were all alleged to have been part of a cash-for-votes scandal which led to more than 100 acres of prime land in south county Dublin being rezoned in the 1990s. The charges follow a marathon investigation into the 53 million euro hike in land prices at Carrickmines. The lands were frozen by the Criminal Assets Bureau in 2005.

Former government press secretary Frank Dunlop, who was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to corruption, was accused of brokering the deal.

Kennedy, aged 56, was charged with handing over cash in June 1992 in Dunlop's Upper Mount Street office to secure councillors' votes on the Carrickmines site. He was also charged with handing over money in Conway's Public House, Parnell Street the following month. Kennedy, of Cormorant Way, Queens Quay in Gibraltar, was alleged to have followed that by giving money in June 1992 to then city councillor Liam Cosgrave. He was also accused of handing over money in May 1992 at St John of God's Hospital.

Fox, aged 70, from Mountainview Park, Churchtown, was charged with taking money three times in late 1997. He was also charged with taking money to vote for the rezoning of 108 acres at Carrickmines while Dublin County councillor in 1992.

Lydon, aged 82, from San Antonio, Stillorgan Park Avenue, Dublin, was charged with taking money in May 1992 at St John of God's to rezone 108 acres in Carrickmines. McGrath, aged 54, from Swiftford, Saggart, Co Dublin was charged with taking money in June 1992 in his Clondalkin office to rezone the same land.

Gilbride, aged 69, from Greenlawns, Skerries, was charged with taking money in Frank Dunlop's offices in June 1992. He is also alleged to have taken the cash in return for a Dublin County Council vote to rezone Carrickmines.

The politicians were remanded on bail on their own bond of 1,000 euro until next Thursday. Kennedy was remanded in custody with consent to bail to Cloverhill Prison until Tuesday. Judge David McHugh imposed bail conditions including a 30,000 euro cash lodgement and an independent surety of 50,000 euro on Kennedy.


From Belfast Telegraph