Thursday 23 November 2017

Dunlop 'can't recall' getting £1.2m from developer

Frank Dunlop arrives at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Frank Dunlop arrives at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Jessica Magee

FORMER lobbyist Frank Dunlop has denied being "embittered" at losing out on a IR£300m land sale because of his failure to get rezoning at Baldoyle Racecourse in 1993.

However, he said the decision by Dublin County Council in March 1993 not to rezone the land at Baldoyle as industrial was "spectacularly wrong". He also admitted to bribing six Dublin county councillors prior to the vote.

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Mr Dunlop said he had not been daunted by the negative vote and that he said at the time: "I've balls of iron and a spine of steel, and if I can't make it here, I'll make it somewhere else."

Mr Dunlop was being cross-examined at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court about his claims of corruption against businessman Jim Kennedy and four councillors. The court heard that Mr Dunlop's company Pennine Holdings had an option on the site at Baldoyle, but that it was landlocked by 100 acres of land in which Jim Kennedy had a 50pc interest.

Mr Dunlop agreed that Mr Kennedy's land contained "the key to the kingdom" to making his site more lucrative, as it would provide essential access and services.

But Mr Dunlop said he did not remember when he became aware that an important part of the land was owned by Mr Kennedy. He insisted that he never had any discussion with Mr Kennedy about his land.

Mr Dunlop said after his "spectacularly unsuccessful" attempts to have the land at Baldoyle rezoned in 1991, he sold his option on the land to Sean Mulryan of Ballymore Homes in April 1994.

He said his payment for the sale included an initial payment of IR£50,000, an agreement to get IR£10,000 a year for five years, and IR£200,000 once the option was exercised by Sean Mulryan.

When Mr Dunlop was reminded that he told the planning tribunal that he had been paid £1.2m for the option by Sean Mulryan, he said he had no recollection of getting that amount.

"If you were to offer me a million euro, I couldn't tell you how much I actually got from him, or what I did with it," said Mr Dunlop.

The court heard that Mr Mulryan eventually bought the adjoining land from Mr Kennedy for IR£10m, got the whole site rezoned in 1998, and subsequently sold it for up to IR£300m.

Michael O'Higgins SC, representing Mr Kennedy, asked Mr Dunlop how he could remember allegedly getting IR£25,000 in cash from Mr Kennedy in 1991 and not remember getting IR£1.2m from Mr Mulryan.

Mr Dunlop replied that he had an "eidetic" or photographic memory of some memories but not of others.

Mr Dunlop denied he had been embittered or that he had "missed the boat" because his efforts to earn huge sums for the land had failed and Mr Mulryan had received the lion's share of the profits.

James Kennedy (66) of Cormorant Way, Queens Quay, Gibraltar, is charged with making corrupt payments to councillors through Mr Dunlop to secure their votes in favour of rezoning land at Carrickmines in Dublin as industrial. Mr Kennedy has pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of making corrupt payments between June 1992 and October 1997 to members of Dublin County Council.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county councillor Tony Fox (72) of Mountainview Park, Churchtown, and former councillors Colm Mc Grath (56) of Swiftwood, Saggart, Donal Lydon (74) of Santo Antonio, Stillorgan Park Avenue, and Liam Cosgrave (57) of Merrion Park, Blackrock, have pleaded not guilty to corruptly receiving money as inducements to rezone lands as industrial.

Irish Independent

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