Wednesday 21 March 2018

Emotions run high as sobbing Forsey faces 10 years in jail

Fred Forsey Jnr: has not repaid
money given by developer
Fred Forsey Jnr: has not repaid money given by developer

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

THE ex-Fine Gael deputy mayor found guilty of taking bribes from a developer is facing up to 10 years in jail.

Fred Forsey Jnr (43) sobbed uncontrollably as the jury replied "guilty" to all six counts of receiving corrupt payments from a developer in 2006 while he was a Dungarvan town councillor.

Forsey, of Coolagh Road, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, had denied taking the funds as an "inducement" to support a rezoning of farmland outside of the town.

Yesterday, he was convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court. His trial heard how, to this day, he has not paid a cent back of the €80,000 he received from the developer.

Yesterday, his ex-wife Jenny Forsey (42) did not appear in court but his girlfriend Karen Morrissey (26) was by his side.

After he was remanded on bail pending his sentencing hearing, Forsey gasped audibly and was hushed and helped from the courtroom to a nearby consultation room by his partner. "It'll be okay," Ms Morrissey repeatedly said as she tried to calm him.

The trial heard rezoning of the land to industrial/residential meant its value stood to increase up to ten-fold.

Government TD John Deasy (FG) earlier gave evidence that it was his view that the aim was to "inflate" the price of land -- and not to create jobs for Dungarvan.

The jury of eight men and four women yesterday disagreed with Forsey's claims that the monies were lent to him by a developer -- and found they were corruptly received. Their verdict was unanimous and came after two-and-a-half hours of deliberation.

Forsey's body trembled and he sobbed loudly before Judge Gerard Griffin remanded him on bail until his sentencing hearing on Thursday.

Over eight days, the trial heard of a "sordid tale" of sex, lies and corruption. Personal details of Forsey's love affair with a woman 17 years his junior came out in court.

His ex-wife Ms Forsey testified against him, stating she was "furious" when he sent a text message to their then 15-year-old daughter Amy, which was intended for his girlfriend Ms Morrissey.

However, she denied she went to gardai to report her ex-husband over the payments out of "revenge".

The jury heard evidence of how Forsey met the developer, whom he only knew to salute, in The Moorings pub in Dungarvan in the summer of 2006.

They had a brief conversation and during the walk home from the pub, Ms Forsey said she asked her husband what they had discussed.

She told the court Forsey said he wanted to "get in with" the developer but she wasn't sure what he meant.


On August 22, 2006, she said her then husband told her the developer had lodged €30,000 into his bank account. However, it later emerged that he had been given €60,000.

He surprised Ms Forsey and his children with a no-expenses spared trip to Rome.

Shortly after they returned, the marriage broke down as Forsey had been having a secret relationship with Ms Morrissey.

He received further monies from the developer on October 10, 2006, and a third and final payment on December 22, 2006.

The jury had been urged by Forsey's defence to treat his ex-wife's evidence with caution as "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".

John Phelan SC said Forsey was not being charged with the break-up of his marriage. While he said his client was a 'Walter Mitty' character who acted the "eejit with money", he said he didn't "rob a bank" and went to a developer with his "hat in his hand".

Forsey accepted he got the money throughout the case but denied it was a gift or bribe. He argued he had no say in rezoning land as he was only a town councillor, however, the trial heard evidence of him lobbying other councillors to support the rezoning.

Irish Independent

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