Saturday 17 March 2018

Ex-senator cleared of corruption allegations

Lobbyist Dunlop admits diary references to Lawlor 'deleted'

Conor Gallagher

FORMER senator and county councillor Don Lydon has been discharged from his corruption trial following legal discussions.

The jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told that Mr Lydon (74) is no longer on trial before them.

The case continues against former councillors Liam Cosgrave and Colm McGrath, sitting councillor Tony Fox and businessman Jim Kennedy.

The charges relate to allegations that Mr Kennedy used political lobbyist Frank Dunlop to bribe councillors to vote to rezone potentially valuable land.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring told the jury that she discharged Mr Lydon from the trial after "legal matters" arose.

"He is no longer a matter for your concern," she added.

Mr Lydon of Santo Antonio, Stillorgan Park Avenue, had pleaded not guilty to corruptly receiving money at various locations in Dublin on dates in June 1992 and October 1997 as inducements to rezone lands in Carrickmines as industrial while he was a Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county councillor.

Mr Fox (72) of Mountainview Park, Churchtown, Dublin; Mr McGrath (56) of Swiftwood, Saggart; and Cosgrave (57) of Merrion Park, Blackrock, have also denied the same offences.

Mr Kennedy (66) of Cormorant Way, Queens Quay, Gibraltar, has pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of making corrupt payments between June 1992 and October 1997.

Earlier, prosecution witness and former lobbyist Frank Dunlop continued his evidence following a week-long break and admitted obscuring references to the late politician Liam Lawlor and developer Owen O'Callaghan from his diary.

The diary had been produced to the Mahon Tribunal, which was set up to investigate planning corruption.

Counsel for Mr Kennedy, Michael O'Higgins, put it to Mr Dunlop that because of the obscured entries, the diary has been referred to as "looking like a Jackson Pollock painting".


He explained that Pollock was an impressionist artist known for "throwing paint randomly at the canvas".

Yesterday, Mr Dunlop said he obscured references to Mr O'Callaghan because they were "personal business matters" and not the business of the tribunal. He said he deleted references to Mr Lawlor because he didn't think they were relevant.

Mr Dunlop denied that Mr Lawlor was his business partner but said that he has "no doubt that he thought he was".

The witness agreed he paid Mr Lawlor large sums of money in relation to work the politician did on development projects.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News