Row over evidence given to Bank Inquiry by developer Mulryan
Published 20/08/2015 | 02:30
A fresh row is developing in the Banking Inquiry over evidence given by developer Sean Mulryan, the Irish Independent can reveal.
A Wicklow-based auctioneer who worked for Mr Mulryan wrote to the inquiry last month to take issue with testimony the developer gave during a hearing.
Gabriel Dooley of Dooley Auctioneers claimed the Ballymore Group boss's evidence relating to the landmark Charlesland development in Wicklow, which he developed with 'Baron of Ballsbridge' Sean Dunne, was "very incorrect and misleading".
In his letter, Mr Dooley said he was "astonished" that Mr Mulryan claimed he had no knowledge of a "secret contract" the developers had with Wicklow County Council relating to the project.
Mr Dooley, who is taking legal action against Mr Mulryan over alleged unpaid fees, also claimed he acted as a lobbyist for the developer.
"I acted for him as both his land agent and lobbyist, and Mr Mulryan lobbied politicians privately with me and members of Wicklow County Council including a senior planner, especially on the rezoning of Charlesland," said Mr Dooley.
However, a source close to Mr Mulryan dismissed the claims as "fiction" and "completely without foundation".
"He (Mr Dooley) is not a lobbyist, he's an estate agent, and Mr Mulryan would never hire an estate agent to be a lobbyist," the source said.
The source said Mr Mulryan and Mr Dunne made "economic presentations" to interested parties relating to the Charles-land development which were well-received by Wicklow County Council officials and councillors.
The source said the agreement the developers had with Wicklow County Council was "100pc legitimate" and backed by the local authority.
Mr Dooley said he stood over his claims when contacted by the Irish Independent.
In his evidence to the inquiry, Mr Mulryan said his com- pany "did not hire independent lobbyists".
"Ballymore always sought to communicate or engage with the public, elected representatives and government/local government officials on matters that affected both the company and the industry. It did so in an open and transparent manner," he said.
Socialist TD Joe Higgins questioned Mr Mulryan on the Charlesland development when he appeared before the inquiry on July 22.
Mr Higgins asked the developer how he sought permission from the local authority to build roads through landlocked sites owned by Wicklow County Council.
"By doing a master plan and hiring the master planners to master plan all the area for the infrastructure of the area and the roads to service it," Mr Mulryan responded.
Mr Higgins then raised the issue of a contract signed between Mr Mulryan, Mr Dunne and senior Wicklow County Council officials on July 17, 2003, which secured the "road easements that the developer needs from Wicklow County Council".
"The point is, according to Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001, that is a reserved function of the elected members but it was never brought to the elected members," Mr Higgins added.
Mr Mulryan initially said he was unaware of the contract
"I think it's the county manager that you should be talking to. I have no idea. I think it's the county manager who is the boss," he said.