Thursday 8 December 2016

'Corrupt liar' Lawlor abused his position as politician

Treacy Hogan

Published 23/03/2012 | 05:00

THE late Fianna Fail TD Liam Lawlor was branded a corrupt liar who lined his pocket with cash from developers and landowners.

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The tribunal found that the politician significantly abused his role as an elected public representative, both as a councillor and later as TD, throughout the late 1980s and the 1990s.

Mr Lawlor -- who died in a car crash in Moscow in 2005 -- provided services and advice to landowners and developers for personal gain.

"In effect, Mr Lawlor, while an elected public representative, conducted a personal business in the course of which he corruptly sold his expertise, knowledge and influence as a councillor and as a TD for personal financial reward," the tribunal found.

Developers, landowners and corrupt lobbyist Frank Dunlop, on their behalf, paid Lawlor for 'consultancy' services in relation to the rezoning or development of their lands.

Influence

This was not simply to have the benefit of his undoubted knowledge of the planning process and influence over other councillors.

"It was also to allay their concern that a failure to engage with Mr Lawlor in this manner might result in a failure to have their property rezoned, or otherwise dealt with advantageously in the course of the planning process."

Mr Lawlor's close involvement with landowners/developers and Dunlop, and his frequent demands for substantial sums of money, which was paid over a decade, "rendered (Lawlor) hopelessly compromised" in the disinterested performance of his public duties as an elected public representative.

Mr Lawlor also failed on many occasions to give truthful information and evidence to the tribunal.

He convinced Arlington Properties that he was so close to the government and the authorities in Dublin that a failure on its part to make significant payments to him might result in a lack of support by the government for a proposed development at Bachelor's Walk in Dublin city centre.

Arlington subsequently paid him IR£75,000 in payments over an 11-month period.

"Having regard to the fact that he was a councillor and a TD at that time, Mr Lawlor's demands for payments, and his acceptance of money in these circumstances were entirely inappropriate and were corrupt."

The tribunal rejected the evidence of Arlington executives Ted Dadley and Raymond Mould that they had no recollection of the reasons for the payment of Stg £33,000 to Lawlor in April 1989.

Between June 1988 and January 1989, Lawlor got approximately IR£32,200 in periodic payments from Arlington and a further Stg £3,500 around November 1988.

Mr Lawlor also corruptly demanded a 20pc stake of the Quarryvale project from Mr Tom Gilmartin on two separate occasions.

The tribunal said it was satisfied Mr Lawlor's relationship with Mr Dunlop and Mr O'Callaghan "was firmly based in corruption and that the bulk of funds paid by Mr Dunlop and by Mr O'Callaghan to Mr Lawlor, particularly in the period 1991 to 1996, were payments made directly in relation to Mr Lawlor's activities concerning the rezoning of the Quarryvale lands, and were corrupt".

Irish Independent

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