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Wednesday 21 March 2018

Charged with bribery

Four politicians, businessman in court over claims of corruption

Tom Brady and Tom Tuite

A WEALTHY businessman and four former Fianna Fail councillors, including an ex-senator, have been charged with bribery and corruption.

The case involves an unprecedented number of politicians being charged together with corruption offences.

The charges follow a seven-year investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) into a land rezoning controversy at Carrickmines in south county Dublin.

All five men are pleading not guilty to the charges.

Former Fianna Fail senator Don Lydon, as well as former councillors Colm McGrath and Sean Gilbride, and independent councillor Tony Fox, appeared before Dublin District Court yesterday evening.

The four politicians were charged with receiving sums of money as an "inducement" or "reward" for voting for the rezoning of 108 acres of land in Carrickmines on dates in 1992 and 1997.

Gardai made no objection to bail and the four were remanded to appear in court again on Thursday on their own bonds of €1,000.

Mr Kennedy, of Cormorant Way, Queens Quay, Gibraltar, appeared separately and faced a total of 16 charges relating to the corrupt payment of money to members of Dublin county council and Dun Laoghaire- Rathdown council in connection with the Carrickmines rezoning.

The court appearances came after a dramatic week, in which Mr Kennedy returned to Dublin from his home in Gibraltar to give evidence at a High Court case where the CAB was seeking to recover money from property company Jackson Way Properties over alleged corrupt enrichment as a result of the rezoning of the Carrickmines land in 1997.

But shortly after he left the court on Tuesday he was arrested for questioning, became ill and was taken to hospital. However, yesterday evening, after his discharge from St Vincent's Hospital, he was brought before Dublin District Court.

Judge David McHugh held that the 63-year-old, a father of 10, would have to stay in custody at Cloverhill Prison until €30,000 cash bail in his own bond was lodged. He also set an independent surety of €50,000, to be lodged by Kennedy's wife.

A detective from the Criminal Assets Bureau told Judge McHugh that Mr Kennedy was charged with 16 offences.

He made no reply to the first charge and, after caution, said "nothing to say" to the remaining 15 counts.

The CAB officer objected to bail, telling Judge McHugh that Mr Kennedy had a number of addresses, including one at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Ballsbridge. He said the Dublin address was only provided by him yesterday.

The officer also said Mr Kennedy had more addresses in Gibraltar and London and had no connection with the State. He said Mr Kennedy had not lived in Ireland since the 1990s and had relinquished citizenship.

He also cited the seriousness of the offences as a further ground for the court to consider refusing bail to Mr Kennedy. Judge McHugh remanded him to appear again at Cloverhill court on Tuesday.

Charges brought against him include alleged payments to induce politicians to rezone 108 acres of land at Carrickmines in south Dublin.

The charges include allegations of payments to: former Dublin City Councillor Sean Gilbride, at the offices of lobbyist Frank Dunlop, in Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2, on June 11, 1992; former Dublin City Councillor Jack Larkin, at Conway's Public House, Parnell Street, Dublin; former Dublin City Councillor Tom Hand on May 4, 1992, at Dublin County Council; and former Dublin City Councillor Liam Cosgrave, on a date between June 12 and June 29, 1992.

Irish Independent

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